Dead construction workers, violated human rights, oppressed women: how can we still write about football?
Not too long ago, FIFA president Gianni Infantino sent out his World Cup guidelines. In a letter to 32 qualified associations, he wrote: “At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs without giving moral lessons to the rest of the world.” He announced that everyone is welcome in Qatar, regardless of origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation. And because he thinks everything is so great at the World Cup in Qatar, Infantino also wrote: “Let’s focus on football now, please.”
Four days after Infantino’s letter, Qatar World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman said in a ZDF post that he was gay, is “mental damage”.
It’s just the latest excitement from the World Cup, where everything has gotten out of control. The story begins in 2010 with the choice bought according to the witnesses of benevolence. Since then, Qatar has provided negative headlines at will. Many dead construction workers on World Cup construction sites; guest workers who are treated like slaves; spying; support for Islamist groups; arresting critical journalists; dealing with women. Or even: dealing with homosexuality, which is banned in Qatar.
Because of the Central European value system, one thing is clear: A World Cup in a country like Qatar is nonsense. So shouldn’t we be covering this tournament? We asked ourselves this question in the editorial office. And our answer is clear: we inform about world events. And thus also about meaningless, unpleasant things. About the war in Ukraine. Or about this World Cup. And we do it according to our journalistic principles.
It took Switzerland 123 years for women to gain national suffrage. We should not think that everything will change in Qatar in a very short time.
We criticized the allocation of the World Cup. We have been keeping an eye on Qatar over the last few years because our job is to report critically. International pressure led to improvement, the only question is how sustainable these improvements are. In no case should we succumb to the mistake that everything in the country will change completely in a very short time, because we believe that so many things should be different.
It took Switzerland 123 years for women to gain national suffrage. And we still have enough die-hards who want to “cure” homosexuality. Change takes time. The nearly 300,000 Qataris who live in their country with around 2.5 million guest workers describe themselves as conservative. Relatively few of them recognize the anti-Arabism and Islamophobia in our rejection of their World Cup.
Train have been competing for attention with major sporting events for some time now. Federer and tennis, motorcycling world championships, athletics world championships, swimming, handball world championships, Formula 1, it all happened in Qatar, but it didn’t make anyone mad. The World Cup, on the other hand, does. As?
Fifa will earn $4.5 billion from the World Cup
Because a lot of things are coming together now that make us resentful: It’s not just about human rights. It’s also about modern football, which is permeated with an I-get-thing-possible mentality. Infantino-Fifa is at the forefront of this. It takes around $4.5 billion in a World Cup year. It distributed 440 million as prize money among 32 participants. Only: establish a compensation fund for guest workers, as requested by, among others, the Swiss Football Association, Fifa has not yet been able to do so. That’s pathetic.
When it comes to your own little box, ethics quickly end up on the mountain of garbage. Also in Switzerland. The volume of trade between Switzerland and Qatar doubled to CHF 750 million last year. In 2021, Federal Councilor Ueli Maurer traveled to Qatar with a delegation of top Swiss bankers to open new markets. This spring, Maurer flew again, it was gas and oil deals. World Cup stadiums are equipped with Swiss anti-aircraft guns at a cost of CHF 200 million. There were angry protests for nothing.
Nine journalists from Qatar are reporting for us
There are reasons to turn away from football. Some have. Some are doing it now at this World Cup. But many others are having a hard time. Because the game that stands at the birth of excesses still excites many. Eleven against eleven. And in the end the Germans won. Or Brazilians. Or maybe even the Swiss.
Together with our partner newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, we have nine journalists in Qatar during the World Cup. In the coming weeks, we will often report on football, tell stories and convey joy. But we also look left and right and reveal what is happening outside the stadiums. We will do exactly what we are obliged to do as journalists.
Ueli Kägi he started in 1996 and after completing a taster week at the Tages-Anzeiger, he was employed as a sports editor specializing in football in 2001. Since 2014, he has been leading the sports department of Tamedia.More information
Felix Schad he has drawn for the Tages-Anzeiger since 1999 and has been resident cartoonist since 2005.More information
Did you find a bug?Report now.
Manage Cookie Consent
To provide the best experiences, we use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behavior or unique IDs on this site. Not consenting or withdrawing consent, may adversely affect certain features and functions.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.