In my younger years, I was a “sports nut.” I watched everything with eager anticipation, baseball, basketball, football, hockey, boxing, tennis, golf, and a little soccer/futbol. However, for a number of reasons I no longer watch anything with the exception of the NFL and the American National Women’s Soccer Team.
Futbol is the Greatest Sport in the World
After I coached Soccer and learned more about the game, I fell in love with the sport most watched by nearly every nation in the world. However, although the Men’s National Team is paid more, and has better training facilities, only the women have won a World Cup. Their teamwork and lack of ego impressed me. In 2019, my most cherished birthday gift was watching the women win the World Cup.
Not only am I not very interested in the Men’s World Cup taking place in Qatar today, but I am also boycotting the event. My television is not set to record a single game: I just don’t care. What I do care about is my reasons for refusing to watch the games.
Qatar: A Nation Which Denies Human Rights
Several times in recent history, the world futbol organization, FIFA, has been investigated for improprieties. I hope this will be the situation this year. Qatar is a nation controlled by a single religion, and the rulers of this very rich nation are forcing their beliefs on every other nation in the world. Their record on human rights is abysmal, and women are third-class citizens or less.
Women are entirely subservient to the men in Qatar. They have no rights not guaranteed by their fathers, husbands, or their brothers. They have but two purposes: pleasuring the men who own them, and bearing their children.
Leaders of Qatar Demand the World Observes Their Religious Beliefs
However, what is most obvious during the World Cup is their demand that others share their religious beliefs.
There is no alcohol for sale inside of the stadiums. Muslims do not condone the use of these stimulants. Therefore, no one else is allowed to enjoy them during the games. This is not based on a concern for public safety or any other logical reason. It is simply forcing their religion on others.
No Gay People Allowed
Nothing related to the LGBTQ community is allowed in the entire country. Any citizen of Qatar who participates in anything other than heterosexual activity is immediately placed in prison.
During the World Cup, no one is allowed to display any support for a non-heterosexual lifestyle. Participants are not allowed to wear rainbows or the word “LOVE” on any apparel. Fans attending the games are turned away if their attire refers to the LGBTQ community in any way. Any coach who wears attire considered unacceptable will be fined and removed from the field.
Qatar is a Theocracy in Opposition to Democracy
Qatar is not a free country that opposes any form of freedom of thought or expression. It is anti-American and opposed to any form of democracy. The very fact FIFA agreed to hold the games in a racist and bigoted country is unacceptable. I am ashamed of any American agency which agreed to attend the event.
Accommodating Qatar is Harming other Nations
No country is pleased with the changes made to accommodate the approval of Qatar’s bid to host the World Cup. The original agreement stipulated that the World Cup would be held in June and July when the European Leagues had completed their seasons. However, the average temperature in the region during the summer months is 104 degrees. Moving the games to December and January will force a delay in the schedule of the European League’s beginning.
FIFA Under Investigation for Corruption by the DOJ
The United States Department of Justice continues to investigate allegations of bribery. Several FIFA executives are suspected of accepting money and other “gifts” from the rulers of Qatar in exchange for their approval.
The truth is that there have been 12 years of questions from the futbol community as to why Qatar had become the leading contender for the 2022 games.
Olympics Mired in Political Controversy
There were six specific Olympics that were affected by international politics.
In 1936 Hitler used the games to gain support for his Nazi Party which took control of Germany in 1933.
In the 1948 London games, Germany and Japan were banned from participating in the games.
The Melbourne games in 1956 resulted in the participation of just 67 countries after two protests. The Suez Crisis in the Middle East reached a crescendo in 1956 when Israel invaded the Sanai Peninsula. Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq boycotted the games in protest. The Soviet Union invaded Budapest, Hungary just weeks before the games. Although Hungary participated in the games, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden boycotted the event.
Lest We Forget
In 1968 the Olympics were held in Mexico City. Student protests were held outside of the venues complaining about the use of government funds to pay for the event. Meanwhile, protests in the United States were frequent and often violent in the United States as protests focused on the mistreatment of Black Americans raged on. This spilled over into the Olympic arena.
No one will forget the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Eight Palestinian terrorists stormed the living quarters of Israeli athletes, killing two and taking nine hostages. Failure by the German police resulted in the deaths of the other nine Israelis. Five of the eight Palestinians were killed in the melee.
In 1976 African nations boycotted the games in Montreal after complaints were filed with the IOC, demanding New Zealand be banned from the games for its cooperation with the apartheid government of South Africa.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is as much about forcing the world to comply with their religious beliefs of one nation as it is about politics. Qatar is a Theocracy, forbidding any other religion to exist in the small nation.
If you choose to watch the broadcasts, I hope you enjoy the games. However, I will be watching anything but the tainted contests.
By James Turnage, Author of “A Little Murder in the Biggest Little City
NPR: Understanding the controversy around Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup
Reuters: World Cup 2022: why is Qatar a controversial location for the FIFA tournament?
Britannica: 7 Significant Political Events at the Olympic Games
Top and Featured Image by Alan Santos/PR Courtesy of Palácio do Planalto‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License