The 2022 Men’s World Cup is currently being hosted in Qatar –– a tournament that, by all means, is arousing great concern both in the world of football and in society as a whole.
Not surprisingly, considering that this edition of the tournament has been marked by controversy since its beginning, the designation with apparent corruption in the middle, the open cases against many of those who participated in the vote, the construction of infrastructures with labour ––especially migrant workers –– in deplorable conditions, the death of between 6500 and 15000 workers in the works, or the violation of basic rights such as those of the working class, women and LGBT people in the country are some of the examples that are continually mentioned.
However, for any anti-imperialist, the condemnation of this World Cup is not based on the concrete but on a global perspective that surrounds the whole capitalist industry in general and football in particular. There is no denying the ties that Qatar today has with imperialist forces such as the USA, which has two military bases in the country, or with NATO member countries such as Turkey. This World Cup is intended to serve as a promotion for Qatar and its monopolies to gain notoriety and to serve as the centre of business for the big corporations during these dates. As it is, it seems that big business deals not related to football have already been made to launch the bid.
Moreover, in football terms, World Cups have always been linked to other interests. The 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar is no exception. We are not surprised by the collaboration with those who violate human rights by those who have been persecuting flag-wavers such as Palestinians in stadiums for years and who now seem willing to whitewash the Qatar regime. For FIFA, as for other pro-imperialist organisations, human rights are just a political tool to be paid attention to when it is in the interests of imperialist forces such as the USA, the EU and NATO to take part in conflicts such as the imperialist war in Ukraine, and something to be ignored when it is not in their interests. Likewise, we do not forget the endless participation of Nazi-Fascist regimes; that fascist Italy hosted its second edition; that if it had not been for the Second World War Nazi Germany would have hosted a World Cup in 1942; or the 1978 World Cup in Argentina in times of dictatorship. Nor do we forget the interests of the TV companies to take over the broadcasting rights and turn this international event into a luxury, nor the common involvement of government representatives and monopolies to increase their profits. FIFA acts as a representative of the capitalist interests that surround the world of football, being a key agent in the consolidation of football as a business. Qatar 2022, therefore, is yet another proof that football and politics, that football and business, are today closely linked.
Today, as yesterday, the World Federation of Democratic Youth denounces those who have been using football for decades as a way to launder their spurious interests and the exploitation and oppression of the working class, the people, and their youth. We denounce that their profits, once again, are built on the sweat and even the blood of the working class and its youth. In the face of this, we claim that sport, like all aspects of life, must be at the service of the people of the world. In football, in sports, in schools, and workplaces, let us put an end to exploitation and any kind of oppression.
World Federation of Democratic Youth, Budapest, Hungary