To boycott or not to boycott? The FIFA World Cup in Qatar

To boycott or not to boycott? The FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Next year, the FIFA World Cup will be held in Qatar. As known by some and ignored by others, the choice of location has caused quite some uproar. What do UvA-students think about the location of the upcoming World Cup? We decided to ask our readers.

It seems in the far, far future, without covid lockdowns and face masks: November 2022. What’s happening next year? In the always sunny Qatar, 32 nations will compete against one another in the tournament of the year: the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar is sunny, Qatar is far away and Qatar is also a controversial venue for such a tournament.

Why? Well, first of all: logistics. Qatar is quite a hot country and since most world-class players play in cold and wet cities like London, Manchester and München, Qatar’s summer is too hot. So, FIFA moved the tournament to the winter. Seems like an easy solution, right? Wrong. That means the seasons of European leagues will need to make do with two months less. As we’ve seen during covid: it is anything but beneficial for players to play too many matches in too little time (just ask golden boy Pedri). And then the biggest logistics issue of all time: beer is illegal in Qatar. Let that sink in.

Then, a much more important issue: human rights. Being gay isn’t very much so appreciated in Qatar. Luckily, FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter has a solution for that: “gay fans should refrain from sexual activities”, as quoted by BBC. Not a bad tip, since sexual activity between two men is illegal in Qatar and can result in a prison sentence of up to five years. In addition, since the decision was made for the world cup to be held in Qatar, 6500 migrant workers have died. The past years, about twelve workers a week died in the building of the facilities for the world cup, as revealed by The Guardian.

What do the UvA-students, often rumoured to be quite left-winged, think about this controversy? We asked our readers. Obviously, you guys don’t represent all UvA-students as a whole, however to us you are the most important ones.

All of you heard about the controversies in question before and more than 80% of the teams you guys support qualified for the tournament. Congratulations are in place. However, the latter might be because more than half of you support the greatest team in the world: Oranje. Unsurprisingly, all of you are big fans of Virgil van Dijk. Well, almost all of you. One person had the following statement to add: “Van Dijk isn’t the G.O.A.T.”, needless to say, we do not support this statement.

Results of the question about Van Dijk.

Then onto the most important question: “Let’s say you were a player whose team made it to the World Cup. You’re usually in the starting eleven and have a big fan base. Would you make a statement regarding the World Cup in Qatar?” 84.4% of you guys would make a statement. Some of you were saltier than others: “I don’t know what kind of statement I would make, but at least something that is less vague than ‘football supports change’.” Others decided to name The Netherlands’ biggest enemy as the example of how to do it right: “I think Lewis Hamilton hits the nail right on the head when it comes to statements, for example his rainbow helmet in the Qatar GP. I don’t think boycotting is the way to go, the damage is already done.”

To boycott or not to boycott? That is indeed the question. Our readers seemed as divided as the guests on an average football talk show: in the cleats of a professional player, 40.6% of you would boycott the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. However, many of you noted that the responsibility should be with football associations such as the KNVB, sponsors and the media.

Results of the question about boycotting the World Cup

Of our readers, 84.4% thinks the media should give attention to the World Cup and 34.4% wants the team they support to boycott the tournament. So as fans, our readers seem more opposed to a boycott, than as players. More than seventy per cent of you will be watching the World Cup next year, with an additional 6.3% that will watch it if their team participates. One sneaky little bastard found a loophole: “I’m perhaps going to watch it on illegal streams.”