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World Cup 2022
 

World Cup 2022

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Original Fat Bob
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OFB

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Allan in Bahrain
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I have commented on this before on a couple of occasions in the past 10 years or so on this blog, but feel it is worth reminding fellow bloggers that all is not wrong in the State of Qatar.

I lived in Qatar in the 80's for nearly 10 years, Bahrain subsequently for over 20, and KSA for 10 years after that. Having traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and Asia, and being a keen observer of the global way of life I think the criticism of Qatar is hypocritical at the very least, misguided blind repetition of false media claims and viewed through confirmation bias by those who think that the British Empire was pure, fair and just.

The construction statistics bounded about are in fact much better than the UAE where most aspiring chavs and girls of a certain eduction just die to spend a holiday twice a year, the human rights issues are no different to most of the civilized world where the British fall over themselves to do business and discrimination on religious grounds and criminalization of certain personal behaviors is no different to discrimination applied across the world for a whole host of differences in outlook.

Simply stated the value of human life is different in every country and for one reason or another workers choose to work in Qatar for the benefit of their families, knowing the risks and accepting the rewards, just like the migrant workers chose to work in the UK until we threw them out. 

Human rights as we view them are more restricted in Qatar than UK but look at the human rights in China, Korea, Russia even some EU countries. Simply put, its a matter of the citizens of the country concerned and foreigners have to obey the law and behave, after all we expect visitors to our country to obey our laws.

Criminalisation on religious grounds is also normal. Try eating dog meat in the UK, masterbating in public or in the not so recent past doing certain things like drinking on a Sunday. Also remember in UK  homsexuals have only recently [in Statehood terms] been decriminalised, and public nudity was and probably still is  a criminal offence, so we do not enter this denate with clean hands.

I am astounded that on the one hand there are those who wish to boycott the World Cup but not the Dubai races or T20 cricket competitions.

 

Anyhow rant over. Just give it a rest please.

 

 


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Martin Bellamy
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@allan-in-bahrain I entirely respect your views and your first hand experience but to give Qatar a clean slate because other countries are as bad or worse is a non sequitur for me. 
There are no reasons why the WC is being held there apart from money. The game won’t develop there and there’ll be no legacy after the tournament is over.


Original Fat Bob
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Come on you Diasborians let’s keep this thread going and your forecast for the winners of the WC. Or is it just a flash in the pan? Can’t get a handle on it! 

Sorry just flushed with success how the Boro are progressing!

OFB


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PaulInBoro
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Must admit I have virtually no enthusiasm for the world Cup at the moment, call me a fuddy old traditionalist but it should be played in the summer not in november/December, but as with all things money talks.


Forever Dormo
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@allan-in-bahrain - I see you posted this on 11th November.  I'm not sure if it was prompted by my post dated 8th November at 4.14pm on the "Blackpool v Boro (Again)" thread, or whether it was just a general post put on here in response to OFB's link to the England World Cup squad and to the World Cup generally.

You are critical of (1) what you say is hypocritical comments made about the Wolrd Cup in Qatar because of "misguided repetition of false media claims and viewed through confirmation bias by those who think the British Empire was pure, fair and just..."

                          (2) You point out in light of criticisms made, that human life is valued differently in different countries.

                          (3) You mention, when it is said by others that people are expected to behave in different ways in different countries, that criminalisation on religious grounds is common, and we do not enter this debate with clean hands.

                          (4) You are astounded that people call for a boycott of the (football) World Cup in Qatar but not the Dubai races or the T20.

I have some sympathy because I agree that many people are hypocritical when making arguments about ANYTHING that involves their own interests*, but that does not mean I agree with all of your comments. 

                 * Supporters of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal or Spurs who are now complaining that Manchester City have "bought their way" to titles and who now fear that Newcastle United will do the same, breaking into their elite - ignoring the fact THEIR clubs have spent many hundreds of millions in pursuit of silverware in the last 30 years.  And supporters who decry foreign ownership or "sportswashing" but who'd be DELIGHTED if their clubs were similarly sold to foreign multi-billionaires or State Sovereign Wealth Funds if it meant THEIR team would become one of the successful Premier League and Champions League elite.

(1) MY views about the World Cup in Qatar have nothing to do with any notion on my part that the British Empire was pure, fair and just. No empire in the history of the world, so far as I am aware, has been "pure, just and fair". They have been won and maintained either because of military might (country X invades and subdues country Y and annexes it, taking its resources and, if it wished, enslaving some of the defeated people) or because of  economic might which might bring the poorer countries within the orbit and control of the economically powerful country. That has been the history of humankind and it is not the preserve of the UK or even Western European empires - I don't think the Persians, the Egyptians, the Chinese, the Mongol Hordes, the Maya or the Incas were particularly fair or forgiving of the defeated countries at the time they expanded their own possessions, or the people of Benin which had its own slave trade in Africa before Europeans ventured much inland in Nigeria and its surrounding countries.

Life isn't fair and hasn't been fair for millennia (probably never has been). In some ways life for some people in the later years of the British Empire may have been better than for conquered peoples in previous centuries - victorious Roman armies weren't known for their generosity to people who stood in their way; there was no Geneva Convention to "encourage" proper treatment of the Icenii after their eventual defeat by Rome; the Vikings who invaded the British Isles were notoriously lacking in their attention to religious freedom, or indeed life,  when relieving the Monks of the contents of their coastal Abbeys. But at least the UK took a leading role in enforcing the abolition of old-fashioned slavery worldwide, when it was in a position to do so, and it is arguable that the courts in England for several centuries offered a means of redress and enforcing liberty to any former slave who made it to the UK (having been a slave abroad), that being at a time when slavery was almost universal elsewhere in the world. 

I am not responsible for any excesses of the British Empire any more than an Italian is responsible for the excesses of the Roman Empire, or a modern day Egyptian, an Iranian, a Central American or a Peruvian, a Turk or a citizen in Central Asia is responsible for the excesses of the empires which previous generations ran where they now live.  All we can do is to apply "rules" which seem appropriate in the 21st Century rather than looking back centuries and applying current mores to those previous times.  So confirmation bias as regards my views of the British Empire have no bearing on my views about the World Cup.

(2). Obviously life is NOT valued in the same way in all countries throughout the world. It SHOULD be. It would be foolish to think that Health & Safety provisions are applied equally in Bangladesh and China as would be considered appropriate in the UK or Sweden, for example. And many countries, or international organisations, have enacted Human Rights Declarations which are honoured more in the breach.  But, realistically, ARE all Americans or French people born equal, or their rights protected, let alone all people from China, Russia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi or Myanmar? IT DOESN'T STOP US COMPLAINING ABOUT THOSE (EXTREME?) INEQUALITIES IF A WORLD CUP IS GRANTED TO ONE OF THE COUNTRIES WHERE THOSE RIGHTS MAY BE MOST AT RISK.

(3)  I accept people are expected to behave differently in different countries.  As I said in my earlier-referenced post, I wouldn't support any foreign football fans who might visit England if they berated English girls who wander about unchaperoned or with their heads and faces uncovered, or people who might drink alcohol where it is allowed in the street.  In the same way, I wouldn't expect people from the UK visiting foreigh countries to behave in a way whcih is illegal in those foreigh countries.  WE make out laws, THEY make theirs.  BUT THE ANSWER IS NOT TO GO THERE IF YOU DON'T LIKE THEIR LAWS (or maybe don't support a tournament being held there). I haven't seen a league table for it, and don't intend to spend hours trying to work one out, but I suspect the UK, even if it doesn't have completely clean hands, does now have laws which are more tolerant of to the views of religious, racial and sexual minorities than most countries and certainly allows them to be protected by the courts (to the annoyance of some of The Press).

(4)  People may be calling for a boycott of the Football World Cup but not the Dubai races or the T20:  I suspect this is because the football World Cup is BIG NEWS and the major sporting event in the world with the exception of the Olympic Games.  I guess that for many, races or T20 cricket games - not the T20 Cricket World Cup tournament which ended today in an English victory over Pakistan at Melbourne -  simply don't cross their consciousness or maybe they WOULD complain about those, too.  

We live in the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.  We can either keep our heads down and get on with our lives, or not.  That might involve going to tournaments in countries with dodgy Human Rights protections without making a fuss, or it might mean going and making that fuss (and paying the consequences), or refusing to take an active or a supportive role in those tournaments.  I'd have preferred if the football World Cups had NOT been granted first to Russia and then to Qatar for various reasons, which include the corrupt way in which those decisions were made (which I think the current leadership of the football authorities accept, but blame their predecessors for) and, in the case of Qatar, the lack of good football reasons to hold the tournament there and the practical reasons why it was always going to be a bad idea.

It might be a wonderful place to work in terms of employment opportunities and the high wages on offer, and it might be a place where there are hotels offering the highest standards of hospitality (though at a price to match), but those decisions are made by the individuals themselves.  Football supporters have no input into the decision where the tournaments are played.  They might feel aggrieved if they are expected to go to somewhere that is politically, socially or in some other way unacceptable in order to follow their team. It is always within their right to refuse to go or to refuse to follow the tournament on TV.  That would be THEIR  valid protest.

 


Martin Bellamy
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@forever-dormo Wise words, as ever. You've eloquently expanded on my earlier response in an extremely detailed way. Thank you.


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Forever Dormo
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I have re-read my post from 7.21pm yesterday, and didn't want it to sound as if I was shouting at or being critical of @allan-in-bahrain.  He's clearly worked & lived in a few places in the Persian Gulf and therefore knows the region much better than I could pretend to. He is entitled to his views, and I DO accept there may very well be some hypocrisy involved when some criticise holding the World Cup in Qatar.  I think there may well have been football reasons to hold a World Cup in Russia which don't exist in Qatar's case, but the social/political/Human Rights objections against Qatar are and were matched in Russia's case.

Obviously the 1978 World Cup was held in an Argentina which was ruled by a military junta which murdered and "disappeared" many thousands of political opponents and anyone who objected (and which, 4 years later mounted an armed invasion of the Falkland Inslands and South Georgia) - an example of a country with excellent football credentials but a lack of social/political/Human Rights credentials. The same can be said, in spades, for the 1936 Olympics held in Nazi Germany, and the Olympics held in China in 2008 and Winter Olympics held there in 2022.

In a perfect world it would be great if the the whole world was populated by liberal democracies where individual freedoms and Human Rights were universally accepted.  Then there could be no objection wherever the football World Cup, the Olympic Games or any other similar events are held.  However we live in the real world and many countries do not accecpt those rights - even in the democratic (small "d") USA there is considerable upheaval over women's abortion rights and the "right to bear arms", and an armed insurrection COULD have developed there following the last Presidential Election whose results remain contested by the former President.  And OUR view of democracy is not necessarily shared by other countries.  Basically, if you are a powerful and important country, you are likely to end up hosting multiple world sporting and cultural events over the decades whereas Peru, Mongolia, Morocco, Kazakhstan, or even more populous and/or richer countries like Indonesia and Malaysia will not.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Forever Dormo

Forever Dormo
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AND TO TOP IT ALL (sorry for shouting but this is HUGE!!!) - @Andr6wMale on Twitter (he writes for the Guardian and Sunday Times), and I think responding to or quoting John Pilger:

   "Qatar has already exceeded its predecessors in cost and controversy.  At a conservative estimate the Qatari government has already spent around $250Bn in development since the World Cup was awarded to it in 2010 - more than its entire GDP.  It is also more than every other World Cup and Olympic Games put together....."

The word "wow" seems too insignficant in the light of such a sum.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Forever Dormo

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Martin Bellamy
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Posted by: @forever-dormo

AND TO TOP IT ALL (sorry for shouting but this is HUGE!!!) - @Andr6wMale on Twitter (he writes for the Guardian and Sunday Times), and I think responding to or quoting John Pilger:

   "Qatar has already exceeded its predecessors in cost and controversy.  At a conservative estimate the Qatari government has already spent around $250Bn in development since the World Cup was awarded to it in 2010 - more than its entire GDP.  It is also more than every other World Cup and Olympic Games put together....."

The word "wow" seems too insignficant in the light of such a sum.

Wow, indeed.


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Ken Smith
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I agree with much of what you write especially about what was known as the British Empire, but there comes a time when we cannot be held responsible for the action of our forbearers. Most English born persons today can trace their origins back to Saxony, Jutland, Normandy, or wherever. My mother’s maiden name was Eva Kraus and many of the women who married into the Kraus family  chose to keep their maiden name because of reprisals from the English especially during the First World War. The same thing happened to Italian sounding names during the Second World War. Redcar particularly had two excellent ice cream parlours in Pacittos and Todiscos which regularly had their shop windows smashed. The former survived but the latter originally a company established in the USA didn’t. It just shows how misguided some people can be. 

My wife didn’t particularly like the name Smith when we were first married saying it was a common name, whereas I eventually told her that it wasn’t ‘common’ but merely ‘popular’ which seemed better. 

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Ken Smith

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Selwynoz
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Posted by: @forever-dormo

AND TO TOP IT ALL (sorry for shouting but this is HUGE!!!) - @Andr6wMale on Twitter (he writes for the Guardian and Sunday Times), and I think responding to or quoting John Pilger:

   "Qatar has already exceeded its predecessors in cost and controversy.  At a conservative estimate the Qatari government has already spent around $250Bn in development since the World Cup was awarded to it in 2010 - more than its entire GDP.  It is also more than every other World Cup and Olympic Games put together....."

The word "wow" seems too insignficant in the light of such a sum.

It does feel like an enormous sum and it would be good to know from Gulf insiders just where the money has gone and whether it has improved the lot of the ordinary people. I’d also be interested to know how the different gulf states stand alongside each other in terms of relative freedoms……..if any can really be said to be free in the way that is understood in western liberal democracies of various shades.

As for the World Cup itself, for me it’s not a question of whether or not I watch it - that would be denying myself a personal pleasure that seems unnecessary - but whether we should talk or write about it. Rather like a tree falling in the forest, would the WC have the impact that Qatar want if nobody ever mentioned their name in any report….or even never reported it at all.

UTB

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Selwynoz

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Powmill-Naemore
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@forever-dormo 

FD, you are what I think is colloquially expressed as "on a roll".

 

Excellent posts that go to show just how difficult it is to express a universal view of how the world should be expected to live with itself. What is the quote from the New Testament....something about taking the log out your own eye before trying to take the twig out of your neighbour's.

At the end of the day, we have to believe in the truths we espouse as a civilisation, recognising the faults in our own history and the imperfections in our own society as much as we can criticise other societies that hold different values. 

Perhaps over time (eons probably) humanity might be able to converge on a common set of principles and basic truths. Then again, perhaps it never will. For all that, I reserve the right to exercise my duty to promote what I truly believe in, in a peaceful, non violent way. This time around that means I will not be going out of my way to watch the world cup, but I will equally not be critical of those who do, just critical of the individuals and the greed and institutions that awarded the event in the first place.

 

 


werdermouth
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Having caught up on the World Cup thread yesterday, I felt I needed a little bit of research before trying to unpack some of the interesting claims and counter-claims involving the host nation of Qatar.

I've long been puzzled on how FIFA could have awarded a nation of less than 3 million inhabitants, of which two-thirds consist of migrant workers, an event that normally is hosted by large or multiple countries. Of course the answer to that is in the question - it was awarded by FIFA, an organisation synonymous with corruption and excess.

The Times reported that leaked documents showed that Qatar offered FIFA $400m in payments to designated accounts 21 days before they made the decision to award them the 2022 World Cup. Plus it's been widely reported that previous hosts Brazil had also bribed FIFA officials to try and secure the event.

It's perhaps worth remembering that the Qatar World Cup was not originally planned to be a November-December event. FIFA appeared to have been distracted when undertaking the risk assessment and technical evaluations of the bids - somebody had somehow overlooked the logistics of playing football and having supporters arrive in the summer where temperatures can reach a searing 50 degrees Celsius! So not long after awarding Qatar the event, Blatter admitted a summer World Cup was both unworkable and unwise and it was finally switched five years later.

You can't blame Qatar for knowing how to push FIFA's buttons as it was always an open secret that they can be persuaded financially. So, it's probably fair to say that a small rich Middle-East country with a desire to sell itself on the world stage to attract investors would find the attention of hosting a major world sport event with estimated audience of 3.3 billion viewers a perfect vehicle. A money no object bid to FIFA could impress and even distract them for the minor problem of being a very small country with no real football heritage.

Indeed, the Qatar Stars League consists of just 12 clubs and while the combined capacity of the stadiums in which they play is around 250,000 the average attendance for each game is well below 1,000 at around 650 supporters - which leaves their grounds less than 5% full. So with seven new stadiums having been built to host the World Cup, it gives eight being used for the games a combined capacity of 380,000 - which is more than the indigenous population and way beyond the demand needed for the future. So there is no obvious legacy factored in with these magnificent structures.

OK, clearly the motivation for Qatar to host the World Cup was not driven primarily by serving a footballing-loving nation. As has been mentioned, the figures being spent on stadiums and infrastructure for their month in the sun are eye-watering.

Estimates vary between the range of $220-250 billion, which if you consider the next highest are Brazil at $15bn and Russia at $11.5bn then clearly there's more at play here than just football. While stadiums are costed at around $10bn, the bulk of the money being spent on infrastructure is aimed at the broader goal of making it a global innovation hub by 2030. The county wants to reinvent itself as a technological center for business and is moving away from oil and gas with a shift towards a digital economy focusing on cloud services and data usage.

So all the money spent on 130,000 hotel rooms, airport improvements, and transportation in the infrastructure package in hosting the World Cup are geared towards a different future - there is method in the apparent madness of the headline spending.

Qatar itself has been on a long journey to modernisation since it ceased to be a British protectorate in 1971. In 1995, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani seized control of the country from his father and began a liberalisation process of the country that has included a written constitution with some form of democracy with women also being given the vote in municipal elections. Qatar is also famous for the launch of the Al Jazeera television station in 1996.

While the 300,000 or so Qatari citizens enjoy one of the highest living standards in the world with top-rated health care, the focus since the award of the World Cup has been on its 2m migrant workers, of which 1.5m come from either India, Bangladesh or Nepal.

Conditions and employment practices have been heavily criticised with reports of some experiencing little more than bonded labour and having their passports confiscated. However, the Qatari government has in recent years committed to a number of reforms and laws to curtail the bad practices by unscrupulous employers. That's not to say everything is now fine as Amnesty International reported that the government has failed to fully implement and enforce these reforms.

The main criticism was that employers could withhold pay and wouldn't allow their workers to change jobs or even return home as they held their visas and passports. Although Qatar says that this is changing and claims 250,000 workers were able to change jobs last year. Ironically, not being able to change employer without their permission is perhaps something footballers could relate to!

The issue of migrant worker deaths has been often highlighted with the regularly quoted figure of 6,500 deaths in the last ten years. It does seem indefensible that the staging of a World Cup can be responsible for so many fatalities. While clearly some of those have died due to working on the stadiums, that headline figure has been widely criticised as not fully representing the true picture by both the Qatar government and independent statisticians.

That death total is from the overall migrant workforce, which works out at 650 deaths per year out of 2m workers or an annual death rate of about 32 deaths per 100,000. It is argued that this death rate is within the range of what you'd normally expect in such a population. OK, some may have no doubt died due to accidents, poor conditions or heat-related illness but it's a figure that is not excessive in comparison to other countries if that figure is correct.

Indeed, when compared to US government statistics of males between the age of 25-45, that shows they have annual death rate of 175 per 100,000 - which is surprisingly far higher but perhaps the lack of availability of guns, alcohol and fast cars to migrant workers in Qatar may explain that anomaly.

Still, Qatar still has much work to do in improving the lives and conditions of its migrant workforce as exploitation of workers tends to be commonplace where regulations and legislation is not strongly enforced - plus migrant workers don't enjoy the same rights as the indigenous population.

The other widely expressed concern with Qatar is its record on human rights with particularly the plight of the LGBT community. Homosexuality is as it has been mentioned illegal in Qatar with those who are convicted facing a prison sentence, flogging or theoretically the death penalty - though this has never been applied. Qatari law is based on a combination of Sharia and civil law - though in practice very few people have been subjected to flogging in recent times. Indeed, in true duty of care Moslems can only be flogged if they pass a medical saying they are fit to receive lashes.

Sadly for homosexuals, Qatar is not alone in making it an illegal practice with 71 of 195 countries making it an offence - these countries are mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. So clearly there is a religious or cultural element to these laws of discrimination and it should be part of the conversation to object to these laws if countries wish to be full members of the international community.

I should maybe address a couple of Allan's more tangential points that he raised. He may be surprised to learn that it is not illegal to eat dog meat in the UK but it is illegal to sell it - apparently UK law allows you to eat a dog you own as long as you humanely kill it - a recent back-bench bill in 2019 outlawing it didn't progress beyond first reading. Can't see too many people going down that road but then again we are entering a cost of living crisis and a puppy is not just for Christmas. I should add for any pooch picnickers heading to the World Cup that it is illegal to eat dog meat in Qatar.

Though as for Allan's point of it it being illegal to masturbate in public in the UK. I wasn't aware that this was a matter that had instigated much complaint or led to any demonstrations by like-minded protesters. I've personally never come across (if you pardon the expression) anyone who has demanded it be legalised and if I'm being honest as a libertarian then I'm more than happy to be protected by the state on that particular matter.

Protest belongs to those who the state discriminates against for not being free to behave in a normal manner of their gender, race, sexuality or beliefs that are given to any individual group in that society.

So in conclusion, In a fair process Qatar wouldn't have probably won the right to host the 2022 World Cup and it's another incidence where money has spoken or subverted the process. Thanks to the accident of oil and gas, Qatar is a very rich country but it has embarked on a modernisation process that still has a long way to go by the standards of many in Western Europe before it can be regarded as fair and just society.

It's probably a matter of opinion and taste as to whether the event is tainted but corruption at the heart of FIFA has meant most are now cynical that any World Cup is held on merit. The purpose of these events appears to be an opportunity to promote national pride and project an idealised image of the country that may not be quite what it seems as it becomes essentially a sportswashing exercise by the host - whether that be Russia, Brazil, Qatar or even the North American one up next.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by werdermouth

Forever Dormo
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Cracking post, Werder, and including information about Qatar that most of us wouldn't have known. 

I think we can all agree that the major international sports organisations (FIFA, UEFA, IOC etc) have long been run corruptly.  It is my tragedy in life that I wasn't selected as a member of one of those organisations since, if I had (1) I wouldn't be remotely worried about any cost of living crisis (2) I would have seen much more of the world (3) I would have been able to watch Cup Finals and Olympic Finals from the best seats in the House at no personal cost, and (4) I would then probably keep very quiet about any obections I might have held about the whole system. 

"Sport - capable of bringing hypocrisy back home.  Even to a home near me, in North Yorkshire!"


lenmasterman
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A brilliant piece, Werder, and as incisive an analysis as I have seen anywhere. Indeed this whole debate, stimulated by Allan's  original contribution, has been of a quality rarely achieved by our national press.

As I recall the same was true of the debate on Brexit on this forum.

Speaks volumes for what we have going here in terms of its quality


Ken Smith
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Even the Second Division in Qatar only consists of a further 8 football clubs with one team promoted each year, so only 20 clubs participating each season. 

The Englsh speaking Portugal News reported about the scandal of how immigrant workers working on the Portuguese Autodrome in Pereiro north of Portimao before its opening in 2008 were paid such appallingly low wages and even had their passports confiscated that they were unable to find affordable accommodation in the Algarve, nor send money home to their families either.

The Autodrome was envisaged to attract Formula One Grand Prix, but apart for the rare Formula Two events and motor cycle races has laid dormant all these years. When I first visited the Algarve in 1983 there were only 6 golf courses, now their are 42 (far too many in my opinion but nevertheless helping the tourist industry especially the bars and restaurants).

You’d be hard pressed to find a typical British Sunday Lunch in the Algarve nor the traditional cod and chips, but who wants them anyway. This is Portugal not Benidorm. I ate at local restaurants which opened from noon until 3 or 4 pm.  Firstly there were olives or carrots in garlic with a carafe of wine even for a single person, then a choice of Frango (chicken), thin steaks of Peru (turkey), grilled Salmao Grelhado (salmon of course), Robalo Grelhado (sea bass), Dourada Grelhada (sea bream) or Espada (sword fish, horrible looking but beautifully white inside), then the Sobremesa (any dessert including cheesecake, apple tart or trifle) then coffee sometimes served with a port or liqueur if you’re lucky all for no more than 9 euros per person. Of course it will cost double that at least after 7pm.

I always maintained that I ate much better in Portugal than in Britain. Why I’ve suddenly written about Portuguese cuisine must be because I’m feeling hungry now. How I miss Portugal, the smell of eucalyptus, and the yellow mimosa in the  Monchique Mountains in the primavera. However I still have my memories, lucky as I’ve been, so no regrets except that I’ve been a widower now for more than 13 years. 

When I last visited my favourite restaurant just before Covid the proprietor actually gave me a bottle of reserva wine “ for just being a good customer”. Where else would that happen?

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 3 times by Ken Smith

Martin Bellamy
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Some superb posts on this thread. When I first signed up to this Forum, I didn’t know I’d learn so much. 


Ken Smith
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A record crowd of 605 spectators at the Trunk Road last night as Second Division Redcar Town beat First Division Redcar Athletic 4-3 on penalties after an exciting 2-2 draw in the North Riding Senior Cup First Round. The attendance was the 4th highest of any Northern League match this season. It also exceeded Scottish League matches played at Elgin, Kelty and Stranraer last Saturday.

From little acorns great oak trees grow.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Ken Smith

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deleriad
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Some really good posts here, and to be fair, a good article in The Guardian which also lays out some of the Qatari views too.

Like everyone here; me "boycotting" the world cup by not watching it on the telly box makes no difference to anyone but me. Not watching it hurts only me. (My wife would be delighted not to have it on tv...) That though is not a reason for doing or not doing it. It does come down to the principle of the thing.

It's also patently true that money has long since corrupted large sporting events and the world cup is up there with the Olympics for its corruption. The Qatar world cup is not unique but it seems likely to have been even more blatantly corrupt than usual. 

I do find the theocratic regimes across the area deeply unpleasant, which is my prerogative. Never worked or holidayed in the area and refuse to do so. I do realise that there are people working to make these countries more like some form of liberal democracy and good luck to them. There is nothing meaningful I can do to help that process but I can at least do nothing to hinder.

Looking back at it, I also should have not watched the Russia world cup. Like a lot of people at the time, I was complacent about Russia's actions in the world. The world cup was used to sportswash their actions and assert Putin's position. It feels like the 1936 Olympics in retrospect.

Fundamentally, it looks to me that the Qatar government is not using the world cup to improve workers rights, human rights or any kind of rights. It is making the minimal concessions needed to look like it is doing something. The world cup is being presented to promote the government as it is and reduce the need to change.

To an extent, this world cup is the straw that breaks the donkey's back for me. Now it is easy for me not watch F1 or whatever because I have no interest in that. I'll be sad not to watch the world cup on tv but like so many things, the only control I have is over my own actions and choices. So I will choose not to watch it and I'll tell those who know me that I am doing it and why. 


Martin Bellamy
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 653
 

@deleriad That’s a very principled approach and I’ll admit that I’ll struggle to follow suit. As you said, whether we watch or not will make little difference, but I accept that it will make you feel that you’ve made a stand. Perhaps I’ll restrict my viewing to England or Wales games as an act of solidarity.


Plato
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 539
 

@werdermouth 

It is well known that the entity that is FIFA is, and has been, infested with people who regard their vote for who shall host the next world cup as their (extremely) personal pension fund. This reached it's apogee with the heir to the British throne attending the Great selection jamboree, because the decision had been made to award it to Britain, it was pretty certain, as you can imagine. Only it was not awarded to Britain, which should tell you just how great the bribes are. One person is well known as selling his vote to the highest bidder as each world cup comes round. What one could call easy money.    


Martin Bellamy
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Posts: 653
 

@plato Maybe the heir’s Father had already received his payment. 
https://amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jul/20/prince-charles-no-inquiry-into-3m-cash-donations-to-his-charity


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werdermouth
Site Creator
Joined: 6 years ago
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@martin-bellamy 

Maybe you're on to something - who knows why Prince Charles was given €3m in carrier bags by the Qatari Prime Minister but can't have been entirely above board - talk about a bag for life!


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Powmill-Naemore
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 769
 
Posted by: @martin-bellamy

@plato Maybe the heir’s Father had already received his payment. 
https://amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jul/20/prince-charles-no-inquiry-into-3m-cash-donations-to-his-charity

😲


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werdermouth
Site Creator
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While I'm uncomfortable with many aspects of Qatar as the host of the impending World Cup, I personally think I'm now edging towards accepting that it's a country and region with a completely different culture, which is still heavily influenced by strong religious and historical moral view of what is acceptable in society.

I don't condone their views but I do understand why at this moment in time many don't hold the same liberal views that we expect of the population in the West. Although, you don't have to travel to the Middle-East to see similar views expressed as recent political events closer to home in Northern Ireland have demonstrated.

Arlene Foster was swiftly deposed as leader of the DUP recently for supporting a Stormont motion by Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie on banning gay conversion therapy. In doing so she caused a revolt within the DUP where party members were not in favour of this softening of attitude against homosexuality.

So while it's not a case of accepting anti-gay attitudes are present in all societies, it does pose the question of how easy or how quickly a community can shift to a different view of the world when they have been long indoctrinated in the idea that homosexuality is both a sin and a lifestyle choice. A country steeped in strict Sharia law will not change their beliefs or attitudes within a generation or two - especially if you consider how long it has taken even in the West to move to more accepting attitude.

Indeed, much of what we see and dislike in Qatar has taken more than a generational struggle in places like the UK. Workers rights were hard won as was the campaign for Women's rights and more recently the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Even then attitudes of many of the population can remain hostile towards these move if they still hold religious beliefs that they have been fed most of their lives.

It does appear that Qatar has started to shift on some issues since it was 'awarded' the World Cup back in 2010 - incidentally, I read an article that was posted a few weeks before FIFA made its decision and Qatar was in fact the favourite to win ahead of the other nations in the competition (Australia, USA, Japan, South Korea).

Japan and South Korea were outsiders having hosted it jointly in 2002, Australia was also a long shot having recently hosted the Olympics in 2000 but the US were the initial favourites but their bid had faltered with post-Iraq war anti-American sentiment. In the end there was increasing support for a Middle-East country to be given the event but the US bid still offered a larger more fan-friendly World Cup.

Anyway, the awarding to Qatar is history and it was hoped the first Moslem country to host the World Cup would be a celebration of diversity in the football community. Of course the problem arises once the deeper cultural issues between such societies and its clash with liberal Western values can't be easily resolved in the time-frame that existed.

As the tournament approaches it has left many football supporters in the west wondering if they are allowed to watch it given the clear problems of the host country not being the fair and equal society many believe it needs to be to host such an event. 

It's perhaps a symptom of the world we now live in that it's become increasingly difficult to resolve these moral issues within our own minds. Thanks to the media age we now live in, we probably now hear about a lot more of what is happening in the world but are individually powerless to change much.

All we are left with is a choice between whether we can morally accept some things are not as we would like and decide to live with it as something that is not going to change quickly - or opt to avoid being associated with something that we would feel guilty of somehow being seen to condone by not actively choosing to reject.

It's a tough decision on whether to watch the World Cup for those who think about such matters but maybe it's still just OK to watch some games of football if the players and teams have decided it's OK to take part - it's the only option now on the table. If we watched all sport with the same attitude then how much could we actually watch? Probably not most games in the Premier League given the ownership and sponsorship deals - should we even watch Boro games because they're sponsored by a gambling company? What can I even buy in the shops or can I knowingly drive a petrol car? At some point we may all become morally paralysed out of fear of making the wrong choice or even being seen to make the wrong moral choice.

Still, I'm not that enthusiastic about this World Cup - FIFA and money have already tainted the experience long ago for it to be watched with the same naive joy that many of us grew up loving watching football!

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by werdermouth

lenmasterman
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 470
 

Very good, Werder.

And phew! 

I think I might now watch it.

Not much of it, but some.

Just England, Wales, Australia and the later knockout ties.

So thanks


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Powmill-Naemore
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 769
 

@werdermouth 

World Cup 2022. The Diasboro thread that just keeps on giving high quality, well informed, impeccably researched,  erudite (and long!) posts.

Well done to every single person that has written something in this thread, every post of which has been more than well worth the read.

Personally I won't be going out of my way and devouring hours of world Cup football. I may watch the England and Wales games (and Riley's games of course), but if Mrs Powmill wants us to watch something else, I will offer little resistance. Like Werder said, the whole tournament lost its attraction a long-time ago and that is not the fault of Qatar.

If England or Wales or Australia do go all the way (or nearly) I suspect I will become involved, but it does all feel a bit as if we, the ordinary football supporter, has been deprived of a little bit of magic.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Powmill-Naemore

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jarkko
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1408
 
Posted by: @lenmasterman

Very good, Werder.

And phew! 

I think I might now watch it.

Not much of it, but some.

Just England, Wales, Australia and the later knockout ties.

So thanks

I second to that with Len. An exceptional writing by Werder. 

I have had difficulties to settle my view on the WC in Qatar, too. Even since HalifaxP (an old member of the Untypical Boro blog) started to collect names against the treatment of workers in Qatar. I think that was around 2016 or similar.

I know in my household the WP is traditionally been very highly followed. We have always done a poster with all the results, etc. My brothers, sisters and my family have travelled to three WC Finals even Finland have never reached them. And I still remember paying footy in my parents' garden when I was Jairzinho, Pele or the Black Spider aka Lev Jašin* (footballer of the year in 1963)!

But we also have a Finnish book on the sitting room table that tells about exploitation and deprived football cup in Qatar. 

A big thank you, Werder. Up the Boro!

*) I do not know how you spell Лев Я́шин in English.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by jarkko

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Original Fat Bob
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Posts: 1818
Topic starter  

@jarkko 

LEV YASHIN in English !

 

OFB


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