World Cup 2022: welcome aboard the Guardian-endorsed Harrods-sponsored slave ship
No sooner had Xavi Hernández announced his departure from Barcelona for a new dawn with Qatari side Al Sadd, than he was attacked.
Xavi, 35, will work as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup being staged in merciless desert heat.
Given the contentious nature of how Qatar won the right to stage the World Cup and the plight of migrant workers building the massive white elephants – the International Trade Union Confederation’s Play Fair Qatar says “more than 62 workers will die for each game played during the 2022 tournament” – Xavi’s choice has been considered despicable by some:
Such condemnation for Xavi would carry an ounce of weight were it not for the fact that Barcelona are sponsored by Qatari Airways. Have you seen any of the protests lamenting Barcelona’s links to Qatar, wondering how many labourers have died to give the Catalans success?
It’s far easier to attack the individual that it is to bash the institution.
Do you boycott London’s The Shard, Harrods or any other businesses owned wholly or in part by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, like Barclays, Volkswagen, Sainsbury’s and Porsche?
And football is an easy thing to pile in on and use to prove your own sound morals. Writing in the Guardian, Marina Hyde focuses on football’s role in Qatar’s deadly economy:
“For what little it’s worth, I am in favour of sporting boycotts only in extremis, and never envy those administrators charged with making such incredibly difficult decisions.
“But if 62 poverty-stricken deaths per game in the richest country in the world doesn’t count as extremis, then our own FA will eventually have to tell us what does.”
Why are sportsmen and especially footballers held to a higher stand than, say, the Guardian, a newspaper that brings readers the merits of working at Harrods:
That’s the Guardian whose writer returned from a press junket to Qatar to write in 2010:
Why the heat is on FIFA to give the 2022 World Cup to Qatar
Louise Taylor said the “technological wizardry” to keep everyone cool in the eye-melting heat is “already virtually foolproof but, to a scientific dunce, the really exciting thing about such innovation is its potential geopolitical and historical impact.”
“If the 40ºc June heat no longer presents an insurmountable barrier, a key excuse for failing to award the Middle East a World Cup is removed… An unprecedented opportunity awaits to forge fresh, enhanced understanding with the Arab world.”
“This chance to deconstruct some tired preconceptions about Muslim mindsets should not be shunned lightly. With a successful tournament serving as a highly effective slap in the face of extremism, Islamic fundamentalists could even be in for some overdue marginalisation.
“Admittedly passports bearing Israeli stamps do not exactly go down a storm in the Gulf but Qataris are adamant that, were Israel to qualify, they and their supporters would receive warm welcomes.”
The World Cup 2022 would freshen the land and banish bigots.
We learned of the “liberated” fans, “fabulous beach-front hotels, ancient souks, modern shopping malls and the capital’s excellent Museum of Islamic Arts”. We’re urged to all go camping among desert dunes in an idyll where “crime is nearly non-existent”.
“Thanks to an inspired piece of Qatari altruism, an entire air-conditioned stadium would be dismantled and exported to a poor, hot country, for reconstruction, with further chunks of other grounds, most notably seats, distributed to other needy developing nations.”
Maybe these chilled insta-stadium could house all the dead bodies being sent back to Pakistan or Nepal? The Guardian ended by saying:
“Mustering the bravery to hand Qatar 2022 might yet enable FIFA to gift the world a Cantona moment.”
Of course, 2010 was way back when we thought Qatar was a beacon of fairness and human rights. In 2006, Doha staged the 15th Asian Summer Games. The stadium shone. And the poorly paid migrant workers lived in filth.
Xavi is not the face of corporate death. He’s not a sell-out for Murder Inc. He’s a man earning a honest wage for an honest job. If you want to attack anyone for squatting over the stench of World Cup 2022 labour camp, boycott the Guardian and change your bank account.