Perhaps Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, now the Emir of Qatar, had a dream years ago to put his country in the spotlight: to enter the world of football and organize a world championship. He was counting on his country having the highest annual per capita income on the planet, and on the absolute monarchy that plays a major role in the Arab world due to its proximity to the West.
In order to realize the dream, the interests of Qatar were supposed to work in Paris to convince FIFA directors of this dream, and negotiations began to obtain ownership of the Paris Saint-Germain team and a series of rights to teams, television stations and other football-related companies in Europe.
Based on perseverance, money and skill, incremental steps were taken to mold the idea into reality, but along the way it put FIFA in a quandary: since the controversial decision to award him the seat was made when the nation was Qatar, which had no great football tradition, and was Lacking basic sports infrastructures such as stadiums to stage the world’s largest sporting event, the problems multiplied.
An investigation revealed how the alleged suspicious interests were woven in favor of the headquarters’ decision, which left a trail of suspicion. Later, a change was scheduled for the dates of the event, which was traditionally held in the summer, due to the harsh weather in that region.
Then, in recent years, the Arab nation has done extensive and costly work in building huge businesses and building consensus between sponsoring countries and companies to support its initiative.
The dream included the enormous difficulty of summoning more than a million fans in a country of only 11,000 square kilometres, less than half the size of Nayarit state. As well as overcoming the cultural barriers that limit the possibility of the World Cup being what it has always been.
Qatar has rebuilt itself and is about to show the world that it can make the Emir’s dream come true. But the party will be different: More than ever, the divides between the big teams that determine the success of the players have opened, and the traditional game of city teams tied to neighborhoods has given way to huge marketing machines. , while stories of players rising due to sporting advantages gave way to the mechanisms of economic promotion, and control of broadcasts and sponsorship of teams and matches became the focus of an activity that transitioned from being a sport into a circus show.
The very realization of the event has led to massive controversy due to accusations regarding the treatment of migrant workers who died by the hundreds in construction works, due to the illegality of homosexuality or now due to the banning of beer in stadiums. ..
It’s a different World Cup, made against the grain until the last minute: In an unprecedented act, FIFA President Gianni Infantino publicly accused critics of Qatar’s human rights record of hypocrites and racists on Friday in a bizarre and incendiary attack in which he asserted that Western countries are in no position to throw Lectures on Qatar on ethics, looking at its past and present behaviour.
Controversy will now give way to a festival of images and entertainment which, at least here, evokes a different passion: now more associated with betting and disease in show, than with admiration for sports. Many lessons must be learned from what is happening in Qatar before the next World Cup, in which the United States, Canada and Mexico will participate.
Louis Ernest Solomon
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