Wales’ fans at their match vs. USA.

The 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup, hosted by Qatar, began Sunday. 
Qatar has a track record of human-rights violations, including anti-LGBTQ and anti-women laws.
Corporate leaders advertising or sponsoring the World Cup should do more to promote change.

It’s called the beautiful game. But this time, soccer isn’t looking quite as good.

As millions tune in to watch ther team in the World Cup, it’s not clear how many fans are ready to face the contradictions between what we tell ourselves about the power of sports to unite and the reality of rapacious business interests that often work against the greater good. 

The 2022 World Cup is being played — controversially — in Qatar and happening against a backdrop that includes the deaths of perhaps thousands of migrant workers who built the tournament’s eight stadiums and other facilities, allegations of bribery, and a host country that often subjugates women and has outlawed homosexuality. 

The 32 nations vying for the coveted title are focused on winning. And so are the big brands dropping massive sums of money to flash their logos during the monthlong tournament. The teams, the brands, and many of the rest of us are doing as we’re told because it aligns with our interests. 

Playing along is what Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s president wants. Ahead of Sunday’s opening match, he focused his press conference on what he deemed “hypocrisy” of Western criticism. “Who is actually caring about the workers? FIFA does. Football does, the World Cup does and to be fair to them, Qatar does as well,” he said. “Everyone who comes to Qatar is welcome, whatever religion, race, sexual orientation, belief she or he has, everyone is welcome. This was our requirement and the Qatari state sticks to that requirement.”

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But by Monday morning that didn’t seem to be the case. England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands said they wouldn’t wear the OneLove anti-discrimination armband in their World Cup opening games after confirmation that their captains would be given yellow cards if they did. 

In addition, sources told ESPN that FIFA has ordered the Belgium team remove the word “love” from the collar of their away shirt.

Sports have long played an important role in diplomacy, but this year’s World Cup is not one of those peacemaking, world-changing moments, and it’s ridiculous for leaders to pretend it is. Viewers and athletes are being asked to “compromise” on LGBTQ rights, forget about the migrant-worker deaths, and not engage in any protest. 

The toxic positivity of it all is oppressive. 

While it’s one thing to ask viewers watch, smile, and cheer, it’s another to assume they’re stupid and unaware of what’s going on in the world. Instead of pretending there isn’t an elephant on the field, corporate leaders should be using this as a teaching moment. But, too often, the bottom line gets the last word. 

Despite the setting where the rights of women, LGBTQ people, and protesters come in …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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