The 2022 World Cup is still scheduled to be hosted by Qatar and that still doesn't make much sense. The summer heat in Qatar remains the headlining reason behind the possibility of moving the World Cup to the winter months, but more important social and ethical matters continue to lurk in the background. And though FIFA president Sepp Blatter is now admitting that the decision to let Qatar host might be a mistake, it's somehow going to happen and imperialistic Europeans are somehow to blame.
From Blatter's interview with Inside World Football:
I believe that the World Cup should be awarded to a nation that really, really wants to host it, a nation that has the financial means to do it without neglecting other societal obligations, and a nation where the national football federation can determine when it is the best time to play the game. Frankly, if we automatically exclude potential hosts because of the weather, then the next step can easily be exclusion for other arbitrary and discriminatory reasons. I am not going to be party to any such thing....
Sepp Blatter will not be a party to discrimination! Unless it's against homosexuals and it's happening in Qatar. Also, "neglecting other societal obligations" apparently does not include building stadiums with slave labor.
... but Mr Blatter, your ExCo knew full well, already on December 10, 2010, that a summer World Cup would be impossible to be hosted in Qatar's scorching summer...
JSB:... that may well be so, and it may well be that we made a mistake at the time. On the other hand, you must also consider political and geo-political realities. The World Cup is FIFA's biggest if not only global event. Who are we, the Europeans, to demand that this event has to cater to the needs of 800 million Europeans above all, when there are over 7 billion people who populate this planet and of who 6.2 billion are not European, but who must at all times succumb to our diktat?
I think it is high time that Europe starts to understand that we do not rule the world anymore, and that some former European imperial powers can no longer impress their will on to others in far away places, and we must accept that football has moved away from being a European and South American sport: it has become the World Sport that billions of fans are excitedly following every week, everywhere in the world.
Yes, how dare those 800 million Europeans believe that they make up a large segment of the football watching public? Clearly the only fair response was to award the 2022 World Cup to a handful of super wealthy sheikhs who rule a country of two million people. That will show those Europeans who can really impress their will on others in far away places these days (hint: it's the super wealthy sheikhs and the corrupt FIFA executives and corporate sponsors).
But it's not European imperialism that is the true concern here, it's FIFA imperialism. They're the ones imposing the unforgiving will of their sponsors on countries all over the world under a large cloud of corruption. Countries that want to host the World Cup are forced to build and renovate stadiums that become a financial drain as soon as FIFA leaves (see: South Africa), the poor are forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for the corporate circus and public funding is misappropriated to serve FIFA, who reap the majority of the profits. In Brazil the people have made it clear that they don't want the World Cup, but FIFA is giving it to them anyway. And they doing it under the mantra of "FIFA cannot be held responsible" for their problems.
At this point, pointing out the hypocrisy and faulty logic in what Sepp Blatter says is a complete waste of time. He says whatever he wants, FIFA does whatever it wants and they all get away with everything. Until that changes, this passage from Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho seems fitting:
“…there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. It is hard for me to make sense on any given level. Myself is fabricated, an aberration. I am a noncontingent human being. My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent. My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago (probably at Harvard) if they ever did exist. There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. I still, though, hold on to one single bleak truth: no one is safe, nothing is redeemed. Yet I am blameless. Each model of human behavior must be assumed to have some validity. Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this—and I have countless times, in just about every act I’ve committed—and coming face-to-face with these truths, there is no catharsis. I gain no deeper knowledge about myself, no new understanding can be extracted from my telling. There has been no reason for me to tell you any of this. This confession has meant nothing….”
For more on the Qatar World Cup, read Philippe Auclair's excellent three-part report for Eurosport: A crisis of FIFA's own making, Football in denial over winter World Cup upheaval, and The human cost of a Qatar World Cup
- Sports & Recreation
- Sepp Blatter
- 2022 World Cup