German World Cup Team Protest
Roger Bara

I very often get angry when I am writing about subjects that pains my very soul. I am so outraged with fury about this World Cup. The four-yearly competition is often called the greatest show on earth because almost every country on our planet can take part. I am having to lie down and take a tablet before I can continue.

Sod it, I had a glass of wine instead, which has done nothing to quell my resentment and wrath.

Back in 2010, when both Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022) won their bids to host this incredible battle featuring most of the best players on earth, the alarm bells started ringing. Russia winning the bid was bad enough, but how could Qatar, a tiny country with absolutely no infrastructure available to be able to host a tournament of this nature, and having no football history of any eminence, succeed, where so many worthy challengers failed?

Of course, it was bribery. Absolute shedloads of bribery. FIFA, the governing body, made zillions out of this deal, and many of its hierarchy were charged with fraud (eventually) and a few were even convicted.  

Qatar’s human rights record is abysmal, its values date back to the Middle Ages, and some 6,000 immigrant workers, who were solely responsible for creating the then non-existent infrastructure in the most diabolical of conditions have died. Most of the dead were reported as dying from heart failure. Maybe we should remind that fucking country that everybody dies, you and me in due course, because our heart stops beating.

BBC Sport Reporter Wears Banned Armband

No, even worse than that, FIFA, the most corrupt body in the history of humanity, are mostly to blame. Like the American health system, it’s nothing to do with what’s best for the patient, or for the football supporter. It’s only about the money. And Power. 

FIFA, like its despot president Wankfest Infantino, has no empathy, no understanding of footballers and supporters. Money and Power, nothing else needs to exist. 

They effectively banned players from wearing an armband which would have signalled the desire for diversity. Didn’t want to upset the natives that had provided so much lolly for their coffers. The English Football Association are cowardly wimps. They complied, because they were worried about penalties that would have been imposed on them by FIFA. In direct comparison, Iran’s players refused to sing their national anthem in protest at their government’s murderous treatment of demonstrators back home. What may happen to those brave footballers doesn’t bear thinking about.

The host’s authorities banned the sale of alcohol in stadiums just two days before the first game. They had 12 years to sort this shit out. And FIFA let them.

What about the sport? Frankly, who cares. 2022 will never be remembered for who won the World Cup; it will only be remembered for the year that international football finally lost what little was left of its humanity. I can’t wait for this shambolic farce to be over.

World Cup 2022: Money Talks

Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

I remember that scandalous smell when FIFA decided to award Qatar to host World Cup. Yes, there are rumors that Russia had also bribed its World Cup that was held in 2018 but we, at least, hosted a quite successful tournament. It was Russia’s swan song before the night that has come now. But Qatar? Why? On Earth? 

A small sand island in the Gulf is very rich in natural gas but very poor in empathy. I was a couple of times in Doha back then, on my travels from Nepal and Sri Lanka, and making overnight stopovers there. I was struck to see plenty of people from mostly India and Pakistan, but also Nepal, Egypt, and other poor countries. They were flooding the streets, lining up near ATMs to send some hard-earned cash back home. Poorly dressed, timid behavior…

This was for the first time I saw lower-class people so literally. It was… brutal. I’ve seen rich locals driving giant SUVs, Lexuses, and Suburbans, pretending to be some kind of ‘nobles’. All their advantage was that their small piece of land was fantastically rich in natural gas… Terrible.

About the time that I was visiting Qatar on my travels, they bought a World Cup; just like you buy food in a grocery store. 

Sir, please, pass me one World Cup arranged for 2022. Yes, don’t forget to re-schedule it for wintertime because it is hellishly hot in summer in our land. Yes, we not only bribe you to get the #1 sporting event but we are also going to get those forgotten people to build all the stadiums, roads, and the whole infrastructure. Sure, they will get some funny money for it.

Logo World Cup 2018

I’ve read recently that it was Michel Platini’s position during the voting that eventually gave Qatar an advantage over Britain. I don’t know if it was true but after the vote, France had been rewarded a fat military contract by the sheiks. 

It was former FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, who recently admitted that ‘it was a mistake to give the World Cup to Qatar’. I would like to remind you that he left his position seriously damaged by the numerous corruption charges. 

I mean that the whole FIFA is something like today’s Russia: a crippled inside entity that only speaks the money language, and as a result, has a similar level of efficiency. 

Now we are enjoying a World Cup without beer. Can you imagine that? 

What I’ve learned from this is that sports bureaucracy is very easy to be corrupted. I even enjoy that Qatar’s national team just lost any chance to come out of its group. This doesn’t happen often with the host country in the World Cup history. 

Well, this is karma, my friends. 

World Cup 2022: Russia Wins It All!

Photograph of Dean Lewis

OK, us Americans… we mess up… a lot. But FIFA is too much for even us. Jeff Bezos is certainly amoral but he has nothing on FIFA. Here is something I said about a year-and-a-half ago: “FIFA executives were paid millions in bribes to vote for the World Cup to be played in Russia and Qatar, according to an indictment published by the United States Department of Justice. These clowns also belong in jail, except we don’t put the hyper-rich in jail.”

Morality is a funny thing; it seems almost random. A man can show his nipples at the beach but a woman will be arrested. They mostly look the same. With many exceptions, morals strike me as often random. Yet we hold them all up as hard lines we must not cross.

Here’s another example: Russia cannot play in the World Cup for killing Ukrainians but killing thousands of immigrants seems acceptable. But hey, let’s not play politics, we came to play the beautiful game. Bullshit. The liars said: “Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine.” Again, bullshit. The reason FIFA was forced to exclude Russia is because the Russians would have won the whole thing had they been allowed to play at all.

Crime & Football Cartoon

Let me explain: Russia qualified for what a Yank would call a Play-Off berth. Fine. These games were to be played in Moscow. Poland was first up and refused to fly to Moscow. ALL other teams followed. Russia would play in the World Cup by default because no team would take the field with them.

This little moral statement posed a problem: if teams refuse to play Russia and the Russian National Team qualifies by default, could Russia win the World Cup because they didn’t have to play? FIFA didn’t suddenly bar Russia from the game for the high moral reasons they stated (bullshit!); they disqualified the Russians because they knew that Russia could win the entire thing if they just showed-up. Oops.

One thought on “World Cup 2022 – Sporting showpiece, or total farce?”
  1. So I was chatting with Roger and this question crossed my mind: Why are we all angry about Qatar hosting the World Cup when so many other countries with poor Human Rights records have recently hosted major sporting events with nary a wimpier. Few were truly excited when China held the Olympics while simultaneously being accused of GENOCIDE. What is so different about Qatar?

    I believe it is because we have all been sensitized to the issue because of Ukraine. That war has made us all more aware of how powerful nations sometimes crush regular people with no repercussions. Putin bombed hospitals in Syria and we didn’t care. I don’t believe anyone, anywhere will get away with such crimes again. Are we too late with our moral outrage? Certainly… but better late than never. I doubt that FIFA & the IOC will not make such poor hosting choices again in the future.

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