I’ve been calling for this for a while now, but the events of the last few days are making it clear to all: England must boycott the Qatar 2022 FIFA world cup.
The bidding process was a shambles. And even if it was all above board, the concept of hosting a world cup in Qatar is absurd. This nation has no footballing infrastructure or culture, almost 90% of the population is foreign-born workers, and slave labour is being used to build the stadiums: an unprecedented 1200+ people have already died.
Worse still, Qatar’s bid was for a summer world cup. FIFA has now changed this to winter. So let’s forget the chaos that a winter world cup will wreak on domestic football. The point is that FIFA has moved the goalposts. Qatar’s bid was for one thing, yet now they will be delivering something else — all with FIFA sanction. This is unfair. Either host it in the Summer as per the bid, and let the dangerous fiasco unfold, or put the tournament up for a rebid again. A precedent exists: the 1986 world cup in Columbia ended up being moved to Mexico.
England should boycott Qatar 2022 and take part in our own “Friendship Cup” involving any nation that wants to join us — perhaps even a one-off revival of the Home Nations Championship. And if UEFA can be big enough to boycott FIFA, then I suggest a special (summer) edition of the European Championships in 2022. The major European footballing nations all have the ability to put on such a major event as we already have all of the relevant infrastructure.
I would hate to see football split as boxing has been, with several “world champions” strutting around. But I doubt that will ever occur. We need to stand up to FIFA and say “enough is enough!” England, as the nation which gave the world the beautiful game, should take the lead. I look forward to the World Friendship Cup in 2022, even if it means England might be squaring off against San Marino, Gibraltar, and East Timor.
© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry