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FIFA World Cup 2022: Political Issues

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

The award of the FIFA World Cup 2022 to Qatar, due to begin on 20 November, was itself controversial and its implementation has been equally controversial.

Qatar has been widely criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, which could, in some cases, lead to the death penalty; its record on human rights; and its treatment and working conditions of migrant workers, many of whom have been involved in the building of the stadia for the event. All of these political issues surrounding the event have been extensively reported by the world’s media.

Peaceful protests have been planned by some players participating in the event and England’s captain, Harry Kane, and nine other European team captains, will be wearing ‘One Love’ armbands.

The Australian squad has released a video urging Qatar to abolish its same sex relationship laws, and Paris, as well as other cities in France, are refusing to screen matches in public places, despite France being defending champions.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the world governing body of football, FIFA, has sent a letter to the 32 teams competing in the event, telling them to focus on the game.

In the letter, the President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, and Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, have stated as follows:

We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world. But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”

They also state as follows:

At Fifa, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs, without handing out moral lessons to the rest of the world. No one people, culture or nation is “better” than any other. This principle is the very foundation stone of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And this is one of the core values of football. So, please let’s all remember that and let football take centre stage.”  

Fine words indeed, but, as everyone knows, it is virtually impossible to keep politics out of sport, let alone the beautiful game!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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The editors of  the Journal Sports Law & Taxation are Professor Ian Blackshaw and Dr Rijkele Betten, with specialist contributions from the world's leading practitioners and academics in the sports law and taxation fields.

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Prof. Dr. Ian S. Blackshaw

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Maisto e Associati, Milano

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Hardwick & Morris LLP, London

 

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