Qatar World Cup: Double standards are turning tournament into a festival of condemnation – Brian Wilson

The crescendo of indignation around the World Cup carries a whiff of double standards.

The decision to award Fifa's World Cup to Qatar has been strongly criticised for a number of reasons (Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images)
The decision to award Fifa's World Cup to Qatar has been strongly criticised for a number of reasons (Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images)

Since Fifa made their decision in 2010, have western supplications for Qatari investment ceased? Are we calling for a boycott of Qatari gas? Or is football alone to carry the burden of outrage?

Already, the World Cup has led to more questioning of cultural norms in Qatar than any comparable state. These will not change overnight, any more than they did in western societies. Perhaps that deserves a little understanding. Is yesterday’s beer ban a push-back against the unremitting chorus of criticism?

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Post-World Cup, there will still be two million migrant workers in Qatar. Now their treatment is in the spotlight, will western governments prioritise that criterion for future relations? A commitment to do so would be a great outcome for the World Cup. But that’s in the hands of governments – not footballers.

Qatar is using “soft power” to advance a long journey. Those who condemn unconditionally must address wider questions. Should no Arab country with similar norms host any international event and if so, what message does that send to those working to advance reform within them?

For footballers of all backgrounds, the World Cup will be the apex of their careers. It is not their fault it is in Qatar. Turning it into a festival of condemnation is like pursuing a horse that bolted in 2010. True tests will lie in what happens after the last ball in the tournament has been kicked.

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