Qatar and the thousand and one ways of thinking about it – March

Just days away from the most anticipated event, the headquarters of the World Cup continues to give us reasons to return to defend our conquests, sport and Human Rights. The World Cup as an excuse to talk about rights.

Carla Lorena Lorenzo writes.

What begins badly ends badly, my mother used to say. And I always believed that he was right, until today, when the World Cup to be held in Qatar begins to close on our heels.

“We know that football does not live in a vacuum and we are all also aware of the many challenges and difficulties of a political nature in the world. But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle,” write Gianni Infantino, FIFA President, and Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary General, in a statement issued on November 4, 2022. text that can be read almost as a “please guys, don’t screw it up, there’s a lot of money at stake.”

On December 2, 2010 it all started.

Russia along with Qatar were raffled as host venues for the most important football event. Russia would receive the world in 2018 and Qatar would do the same in 2022.

It was the first time in the history of FIFA that two countries were chosen in the same ceremony in a draw to host the World Cups by vote, an action that marked the beginning of the great FIFA-Gate.

In 2015 we began to learn about the biggest corruption scandal, bribes, squeezes, betrayals and resignations that soccer could witness.

A stellar income from the FBI in FIFA. An outraged United States, a hurt IMF and as always the pipers are paid by the poor. In this scandal, only the detainees are Latin American leaders. Nothing very new.

The truth is that we are about to celebrate a World Cup in a country in which we only saw soccer culture in some shirts that bore his name as sponsorship. We are going to live the Soccer World Cup in a country that had to build stadiums with blood drive, which -after these almost four weeks of play- will disappear.

Yes, they are going to disarm them.

There is a report on the Amnesty International page about the working conditions that migrants have and had to endure when building these stadiums called: “Qatar, the World Cup of Shame”.

We are not going to deny that we are all waiting for the moment when the ball touches the grass of the Al Bayt stadium and that the air conditioners (you read correctly) begin to cool the face of each player of the Ecuadorian and Qatari national team in the opening match.

Sport, and especially football, has always been a place where bridges are built and invite the defense and visibility of different fair and unfair realities. Sport aims to develop as a collective practice to transform, to invite us to organize and defend rights.

This is fundamentally why a World Cup in Qatar is noisy and annoying.

Qatari society is a conservative society, built around respect for their religion. A society in which rights that were conquered in a large part of the world, mainly in the West, are penalized, rights that are lost again when they set foot on Qatari soil.

A place in the world that still hates dissidents

One of the concerns that we live, apart from thinking about which country will be the one that will take this World Cup home, is the safety of all those people belonging to the LGTBIQ+ community who choose and can travel to Qatar.

Homosexuality is considered a crime and is punishable by up to seven years in prison. This note has no intention of pointing the finger at a culture or sinning against orientalism vs. occidentalism, but it does have every intention of problematizing actions that are alarming.

To calm the waters, the World Cup ambassador and ex-soccer player Khalid Salman gave a note to the German outlet ZDF in which he stated that homosexuality is “damage to the mind” and -to top it all off- ended by saying: “The most important is that everyone accepts, that they come here. But they will have to accept our rules”, and he added that he is concerned that children may learn “something that is not good”.

If that doesn’t read between the lines, if this isn’t a pseudo warning, I wouldn’t know how to frame it.

The truth is that many countries are circulating among their inhabitants a kind of manual so that they know how to move on Qatari soil, informing about the daily actions that for that country are a crime. For example: going down the street hand in hand, kissing, drinking alcohol, taking off your shirt, dressing scantily in the case of women, among the most common.

Yes, you can change the historical date of a World Cup, but you can’t change it or have the intention of being tolerant towards the different groups.

Undoubtedly, embassies are going to play a fundamental role.

bank with the shirt

The players of each team are not oblivious to these situations and luckily most of them choose to speak out.

The captains of England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Wales, France, Denmark and Germany will wear a bracelet in the shape of a heart in the colors of the rainbow, accompanying the initiative that bears the name of “One Love”, which has as its main action to speak out against discrimination and in favor of diversity.

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For our part, the alternate jersey of the Argentine National Team is purple. The explanation was given by Pablo Lamo, manager of Adidas: “The new alternative jersey of the National Team transmits a powerful message of gender equality, aligned with the values ​​of diversity and inclusion that our brand promotes. Through sport we have the opportunity to change people’s lives, and football is one of the ideal instruments to transform reality”. It’s something.

May the laurels that we knew how to achieve be eternal

Within so much denunciation we can rescue that in this World Cup we are going to see six women referees. Three will serve as principals: Stephanie Frappart (France), Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda) and Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan). And the other three as assistants: Neuza Back (Brazil) Karen Díaz Medina (Mexico) and Kathryn Nesbitt (USA).

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In Argentina we have been demonstrating that another way of thinking and living football is possible.

The men’s soccer team is already quite consolidated in the world and we love that it is so.

In this last time we were able to redouble the bet, stand on the opposite path and give the debate, achieve rights for the girls.

In terms of women’s football we can celebrate “Footballer’s Day” every August 21, in commemoration of the 4-1 defeat of England that our pioneers achieved at the Azteca Stadium.

The growth and seriousness with which each club took the formation of women’s teams, we can say that it is almost a battle won.

On the other hand, it is worth noting the hard work that was carried out so that various media broadcast the matches and give a place to the balls that were and are led by women. While there is a long way to go, we had great strides to be celebrated.

Go scheduling that until August 20, 2023 we have no respite, the completion date of the Women’s Soccer World Cup that will take place in New Zealand and Australia, which will begin on July 20. Argentina is in group G along with Sweden, Italy and South Africa.

My mother’s phrase this time does not apply.

What was born badly helps us to hold tight to what we have achieved, to infect it and to know that other ways of feeling sport are possible.

Football is not only practiced and harangued. It is also defended, that is the real challenge.

*Originally published on Hurts Nobody

Qatar and the thousand and one ways of thinking about it – March