Qatar 2022, the World Cup is the crown of soft power

Always, in all the Soccer World Cups, domestic political or social controversies, geopolitical frictions, humanitarian issues stand out, but Qatar 2022 has faced all doubts since it was chosen as the venue in 2010 at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the FIFA in Zurich. A year after making its debut as a venue and with a World Cup team, the territorially small “city-state” has demonstrated in a decade its accelerated development and consolidation in sport as a soft power tool.

Joseph Blatter, former president of FIFA did not believe in Qatar, he pointed out that they were favored by France, through the support of former president Nicolás Sarkozy, as something ‘crooked’, but the same FIFA gave Blatter the reverse, because it took away power in 2015 investigating him for corruption.

“In decisions as important as the attribution of a World Cup it is very possible that the money circulates and that someone puts it in his pocket. It is the first time that a political intervention changes a great decision of soccer, (…) social and climatic level it was a big mistake to give the World Cup to Qatar, “said Blatter.

Alberto Lati, a Mexican sports journalist, tells in his Futvox Library podcast that in an interview he had with Blatter 12 years ago, the president could not believe that a territory that is covered in approximately two hours from North to South and that was not comparable with the giant countries with a soccer tradition could be the best option for the World Cup.

Interest in the western football business started through French veins. Qatar, with the weight of its sponsorship and name, entered Ligue 1 in 2011 as the owner of PSG, it acquired the broadcasting rights with the television network bein Sports. The expansion crossed the European border and now Doha is the holder of the World Cup, but it is not enough, it also wants the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2032, the Qatar Olympic Committee will compete against the interest expressed by Australia, India and Indonesia and it knows that can be achieved when powers like England were ruled out for not having enough votes in the election to host the 2022 World Cup. A historic election as it was the first in which two World Cup venues were elected.

The experience, Qatar has set it in motion. It has hosted sporting events such as the Asian Games in 2006, the Indoor Athletics World Cup in 2012, the Swimming World Cups in 2014, Handball in 2015, Road Cycling in 2016 and this 2021 it debuted in Formula 1.

Qatar has been built as a megaphone for the Middle East, an area of ​​the world with a lot of war, ethnic conflicts, and accusations of human rights violations. The workers who have in their hands to get the stadiums ready for the World Cup have been the red light. This month, a new 48-page Amnesty International report titled Reality Check 2021, quotes a migrant worker as saying that her employer threatened her when she wanted to change jobs and told her that she had to pay 6,000 Qatari riyals, which is more than five. times your monthly salary. It is an example of what Amnesty has pursued in terms of monitoring labor reforms, which seek to improve the lives of workers, abolish practices such as withholding wages and charging employees to change jobs.

The Qatari government has rejected Amnesty’s findings. However, they defend their World Cup as an important moment of geographical inclusion.

The biggest soccer party considers continental inclusion, it has already passed through South Africa 2010 (Africa), Russia 2018 (Asia) and North America will return in 2026, with Mexico carrying the banner of the third World Cup experience and for the first time, it will be a venue shared with the United States and Canada.

At least 50,000 Mexicans will attend Qatar 2022; they should avoid alcohol in the stadium, wear tight clothing, necklines and shorts; respect Arab women and men and their clothing, alerted the cultural attaché of the Mexican Embassy in that country, PaulinoRobles-Gil Cozzi, during a talk for UNAM this year.

The country has been betting on sport for years to improve its international image and these tournaments are essential in Qatar’s strategy to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on gas and oil “, underlines Simon Chadwick, analyst at EM Lyon University.

Nasser Al Khater, general director of the 2022 World Cup, defended the country in a virtual round table with journalists on Saturday, November 20.

“Qatar has been unfairly treated and scrutinized, I think, unfairly treated for several years.”

He denied allegations by the US Department of Justice that bribes had been paid to secure votes when Qatar was granted organizing rights in 2010. He also defended the country’s progress on human rights, pointing to recent labor reforms. , but warning that there is still work to be done.

Romantically, it is said that soccer and the ball become a universal language in a World Cup. 90-minute matches in which only the players will have control and as in all World Cups, domestic and international controversies circulate like satellites.

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