Our Qatar Challenge
Qatar is a country where thousands of migrant workers involved in building the stadiums for the football World Cup have worked in conditions described as ‘modern slavery’ and at least 40 of them have been killed on stadium construction sites.
Women in the country have no legal rights to protect themselves against domestic violence or rape. LGBTQ+ people can be imprisoned for a maximum of 3 years, or, under Sharia Law, executed.
Here, in ascending order of 'success' are our three contenders for the prize of the best response to the decision to hold the World Cup in this country where human rights are few and far between for less powerful groups.
Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, football’s world governing body whose budget for the next four years is £9 billion. In a news conference this morning, Infantino talked about the ‘transformative legacy’ of the World Cup. He said that legacy included the fact that tens of thousands of spectators and journalists had visited this part of the Arab world for the first time, and that the huge event had fostered great mutual understanding across cultures. ‘Football, ‘he said, ‘will go where politicians cannot go.’Infantino announced the establishment of a ‘legacy fund’ which will aim to achieve social goals, to include young people who are disadvantaged, to give sporting opportunities to those who would not otherwise have them, and help strengthen communities.
David Beckham who, in 2002, was the first footballer to pose for the cover of Attitude, the gay magazine. Since then, he has claimed to be ‘honoured to have the tag of gay icon’.
When challenged about his deal with the event, alleged to be worth £10 million, Beckham’s team suggested ‘debate about the key issues’ had been stimulated by the decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar. '’We hope that these conversations will lead to greater understanding and empathy towards all people and that progress will be achieved,' he said.
Comedian Joe Lycett had issued a challenge to footballing icon and supposed ‘gay ally’, David Beckham. Lycett said he would shred £10,000 just before the World Cup began if Beckham did not cut his ties with the event. When Beckham ignored the challenge, Lycett faked the shredding and gave £10,000 to charities supporting LGBTQI people.
We haven’t got the power of FIFA, the fame of Beckham or the TV profile of Joe Lycett...
Our response is to publish this blog in the hope that some of our readers might ask what their own responses have been....and even that they might tell us!
`Photo: Sky News