womenforfootball.com – Here is my recent piece published at SWOL. Recently, faced with criticism over Stadium workers’ conditions at Qatar, FIFA President suggested the idea of sharing 2022 World Cup Games across the Middle East, and stating again that the games should be played during Winter instead of Summer. So here is my take on Blatter, FIFA’s President’s suggestion:
Breathe in relief ladies and gentlemen: FIFA President Sepp Blatter, World Football’s most powerful man, has a new solution to ease the controversy over 2022 Qatar World Cup games; 2022 Qatar World Cup games, may not be held in 50 degrees heat of Qatar after all. In fact, it could be another shared World Cup. You heard it right: “FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed that some of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be held in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, including UAE. “
However, FIFA President, Sepp Blatter admitted the initial first step is not figured out yet: “The first step is figuring out how it can be made in winter, November or December. This will be discussed up until the next World Cup,” said the Swiss.
So let’s step back and count all the issues at the table since Qatar was named as 2022 World Cup host. I have a feeling there is another problem, other than weather and European league conflicts, that may be hugely underscored here: As Blatter admitted in press recently: “Also, I want to avoid all this criticism concerning workers’ rights, but this is another problem.” That is right, let’s avoid condition of all those migrant workers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistani, India, and others alike who are currently sweating to finish World Cup stadiums, and who are practically treated as forced labour with no labour rights in Qatar. As reported by Guardian, according to Nepalese officials in Qatar, the death toll of Nepalese construction workers at stadium sites has tallied as high as 85 since 2012 to date.
Yet despite numerous reports by concerned journalists, Human Rights watchdog, and Labour Union Organizations and South East Asian Embassies, FIFA have only turned blind eye on inhuman working condition of stadium workers in Qatar. Instead they rather put another option on the table to share the pain, or love, between Middle Eastern countries and “to avoid criticism of workers’ rights”.
As if the new solution is a viable solution at all; As if Iran, a football crazy nation yet run by poor sport officials, has currently more than one FIFA standard Stadium to host World Cup games. As if female football fans in that country, are allowed to enter stadiums of their own country to watch football. As if UAE, which will welcome millions of foreign visitors, has fair code of conduct for visitors to not send them to court or jail while kissing each other during their vacation.
Although when it comes to FIFA’s decision, there is always a “my way or the highway” solution;
For the sake of hosting World Cup games in Middle East, the most popular football matches for football fans, European league games, can be switched from Fall-Winter to Spring-Summer.
World Cup games, for the first time in football’s history, can take place during Winter.
The games can also be shared between Middle Eastern countries.
In the meantime, slavery and death toll of Stadium workers in Qatar can continue as long as they finish their work by 2022.
And female football fans in Iran can continue watching the games on their TV screens, as long as Blatter, his wife and his fellow female colleagues can attend the games in World Cup stadiums in Iran.
And foreign visitors in UAE can avoid showing their intimacy in public, as long as 2022 World Cup games take place in Middle East. Problem is indeed solved.