Qatar 2022: No Women. No Irish? No Queers!

Posted on December 28, 2010

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The aftermath of the FIFA World Cup venue announcements a few weeks ago left a lot of bitter tastes in people’s mouths and questions in their heads. Did England not have a reasonable bid for 2018 considering all the facilities they have? Why did the announcement break on Twitter before it was actually announced?

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These, and more questions that I don’t have the capacity to either understand (or care about) will probably not be answered. But as someone coming from a humanitites point of view, I have to question the choice of Qatar for 2022.

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A country that demands women to cover 90% of their bodies, it’s going to make for a seriously hot couple of weeks but that’s part of their culture and as far as I can gather it is something that’s quite loosely applied to visiting tourists. Still, I probably wouldn’t flaunt it too much, just to be on the safe side.

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Will Ireland be in Qatar, in their pasty white glory to experience 2022? Who knows? We would hope so. We have 12 years to wait and see. You never know, if we do get there, the boom might even come back and give some of us the opportunity to go to it. (It might also be worth noting that alcohol can be sold with a permit but not consumed in public places. Hmmm…)

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But, my biggest argument with WC 2022 is that Qatar still outlaws homosexuality, a fact which, I feel, completely contradicts the image of fairness and equality that FIFA likes to pedal about itself.

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Let’s face it. FIFA is nowhere near as fair and equal as it likes to think it is. If it was, Ireland would have been in South Africa this year instead of France…

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But this decision, in my opinion, goes beyond the conditions of fairness and equality. There’s always a fear that you could get beat up by thugs in any part of the world – whether it be because of your nationality, to rob you, whatever. But FIFA, here, have effectively given the tournament to a place that will toss you in prison for what is an accepted social and cultural norm in most other parts of the world.

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And that to me is more significant for fairness and equality than a mindless mugging or beating. It’s institutional discrimination.

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And is the World Cup not about celebrating that very thing – the world, its cultures and its diversities?

 

Surely then, giving the World Cup to a country that has outlawed some of these very cultures and diversities is a baffling decision?