The tournament opens on November 20th.
The President of Soccer’s governing body FIFA, Gianni Infantino, is the latest person to scream shut up and play. FIFA awarded the 2022 Men’s World Cup to Qatar and is now unhappy with the prospect that Qatar’s human rights record will be brought up by participants from the 32 teams that are in the World Cup pool. Qatar’s World Cup stadiums seem to have been built by indentured servants or slave labor. That is something FIFA would like to hide as much as possible. FIFA does know this, its broadcast partners whether it is radio, television or streaming services globally are not going to say a word about the allegations. But Infantino would like to see the players just kick the ball on the pitch. After all, in Infantino’s world, athletes and coaches should be seen and not heard.
The protests have started though. Canada’s players told Ka tar to improve the rights of migrant workers. Denmark’s players plan to wear a “toned down” uniform in protest claiming building stadiums for the tournament has “cost thousands of lives”. The captains of Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales are planning to wear a “OneLove” armband to promote diversity and inclusion. Infantino sent letters to everyone involved in the tournament pleading with them to “focus on the football”. He also reminded them they should just play and shut up and “please do not allow football dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists. We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political natural all around the world.” It is too late for that unless there is a plan to kick out players who speak about Qatar’s human rights issues.
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