THE World Cup group stage draw on Friday was glitzy, glittering and for the unaware football fan, rather intoxicating.
Qatar will play host to proceedings this November in another example of sportswashing in the football world.
The Gulf nation is not a natural home to football, and has had to dramatically build luxury stadiums at short notice.
Naturally, it’s the workers that have lost out.
The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre have recorded abuse affecting 24,400 workers since 2016.
But it’s not only labour that is punished in Qatar. Women’s rights, LGBT freedom and freedom of expression are all subpar, to put it kindly.
Russia, of course, will not be taking part in the Qatar World Cup following their invasion of Ukraine.
The decision, made by FIFA, appears to be morally right. But where are the relative standards – and why is a nation with vast human rights abuses allowed to host the entire thing in what will be a glitzy PR stunt?
Saudi Arabia will play in the tournament. Their recent takeover of Newcastle has done little to alleviate their own reputation, much to the chagrin of the state.
Where is the line drawn in sport – and why does it always appear to be the same one that NATO takes?
Raising human rights issues without acting upon them is superficial. We will hear empty words from politicians, players and managers alike, but as long as Qatar continues to host the World Cup, everyone involved is tacitly complicit.
England were not booted out of the 2004 Euro Championships following the illegal invasion of Iraq. The USA was still allowed to take part in the 2006 World Cup.
Banning Russia from the spectacle is a rare example of the world setting moral standards on a nation.
But without applying it to all countries, it will only have the effect of seeming like a geopolitical ploy rather than the enforcement of human rights.
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