FIFA’s Message to 32 Football Teams: “Focus on Football”

32 nations that are competing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar have been told by Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President in an official letter to focus on football and let football take the stage in light of many questions raised regarding the human rights issues, foreign worker treatments and gender views in the host nation.

The letter reads, “At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs, without handing out moral lessons to the rest of the world. No one person or culture or nation is “better” than any other. This principle is the very foundation stone of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And this is also one of the core values of football. So, please let’s all remember that and let football take centre stage. We have the unique occasion and opportunity to welcome and embrace everyone, regardless of origin, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.”

Bad Decision from the Start?

Having Qatar to host the World Cup, especially during the winter (Mid-period of a football season) proves to be a questionable decision as days pass. The Middle Eastern state and FIFA have been receiving criticisms all across football nations and clubs in the world over their handling of issues regarding football’s biggest event in every four years.

For instance, as reported by the Guardian, no less than 6,500 workers, local and migrant, were found dead after working in horrendous conditions to build infrastructures and tournament stadiums for the celebrated sporting occasion. The nation’s criminalisation of LGBTI+ people is another subject that has attracted attention from the world, in a bad way, where the Australian National Football Association, also known as the Socceroos, have taken to the internet to express their dissatisfaction. 

Apart from the Australian national football team’s public condemnation over the 2022 FIFA World Cup that will be played in Qatar, nine countries from the European region will wear “One Love” armbands as a solid channel to protest the Middle Eastern country’s same-sex laws and advocate their support towards building a world that respects diversity and culture through the sports they love dearly. The Denmark national football team too will be wearing “Toned down” jerseys to champion the same cause.

The way FIFA World Cup host nations manage things in the past has always been controversial, where the ugly side of the tournament that will put the wellbeing and importance of its local people and foreign workers at risk is masked by the grand event itself; And this year’s edition in Qatar is not the last that will spark war of words and debates. On the other hand, there should be more questions asked before enlisting a host nation to take charge of the much anticipated sporting event from now on.

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