Soh that’s it. Qatar 2022 has passed and there is a lot to think about. In terms of football, it was a great tournament with a great final. Argentina were a deserved winner for the way they dominated so much of the final against France. You could see how they were up for it from the start, with their body language, their tackles, their transitions and the way they used the crowd to create energy.
And so Lionel Messi was able to crown his career with the only trophy he didn’t have, the big one, and that’s what his great career deserves (says someone who has always been on his side in the big debate Messi-Ronaldo).
There were many other highlights with all the shocks and upheavals of nations from all parts of the world, such as Japan, Morocco, Senegal, South Korea and Saudi Arabia to name a few. -ones. These nations have really shown what they can do and brought in new fans and new eyes to the game, people who maybe don’t always watch all the world cups and aren’t as invested in the cup of the world than others. They captured the spirit of what the World Cup should be.
Morocco reaching the semi-finals was a huge achievement. They brought joy to the tournament and their performances will inspire many not only in Morocco but from all over Africa as well as the Moroccan diaspora. They will be very proud of what the team has done. And it was great to see them receive praise for the way they play: their discipline, their combat, their fluidity in attack and their organization. In the past when African teams were praised it was often for their athleticism and physicality but that was not the case this time around so I think that really changed the narrative of how teams Africans are seen and described.
Off the pitch, there are several points to highlight. I think the tournament has shown that you can have low-key football competition (inside the stadium) and the fans can go there and get along and, as Gary Lineker mentioned, fans of all different nations can mingle. That’s not always the case when it comes to men’s football. Hopefully this is something that can be part of the game more prominently in the future.
With regard to the issues off the pitch, I believe they have been respectfully raised by the media and others and not glossed over, but it is important to remember that concerns about migrant workers and the community LGBTQ+ will not disappear just because the spotlight of the world is no longer in Qatar.
It is extremely disappointing to see that Fifa, which has announced that it has made $1 million more than expected from the tournament, has still not created a recourse fund for migrant workers, announcing instead a fund legacy that currently includes no provision for workers’ compensation.
During the tournament there was controversy surrounding LGBTQ+ issues, the OneLove armband and people having their rainbow hats confiscated, but did Fifa do anything to highlight these issues? ? Absolutely not. Instead, it was a lot of people around the tournament – the media, the players, the traveling supporters, the people on the pitch – who did this instead.
What we want to see is real leadership and real governance from the highest body in world football, but we’re not getting that. We want Fifa to truly fulfill its mission of ensuring that football is for everyone and that it is inclusive. Instead, Fifa is putting the World Cup in places where not everyone will be accepted.
We can just go back to Gianni Infantino’s speech at the start of the tournament and how embarrassing and shocking it was. It was shameful. How can you stand there on a podium and tell people that today you feel like a migrant worker and today you feel like someone from the LGBTQ+ community. He didn’t live a day in the life of these people. It was a real moment of audacity.
I think Fifa forgets that the people within the game – whether you’re a player, whether you work in the media or work in operations – are individuals representing various social intersections. And you can make a difference even if you’re not part of a particular group.
Take the team from Iran who have shown solidarity against what is happening in their country regarding abuses against women and their rights. They are Iranian men who defend the women who are their mothers, wives, daughters and sisters. Just because they’re not women doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect them.
There are many ways people around the world can help the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar move forward, but to do it right we need to understand the political framework they work in and the challenges they face within. of their society. They are the ones who understand that activism in terms of protest or pressure must be incited at the right time without putting their lives in danger. We must therefore listen to them and learn from them in order to empower them and give them the tools necessary to impose change.
People who want to help should go out and educate themselves on these issues, whether they are LGBTQ+ issues or migrant worker issues, to understand what it really means for people on the ground and how support can be a vector of change.
The next World Cup will be in the United States (along with Mexico and Canada) with its own freedom issues, from abortion rights to anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment. There are three and a half years until the next tournament, so what will Fifa do to address these issues and influence a fairer society and support the growth of the game in the right way? Fifa must do better than in Qatar.