24th December 2022

In what is likely to be the final instalment of the 2022 year, it could not be passed without referencing the World Cup in Qatar. Our contributor Seamus Gunn said the regime has been described as authoritarian and repressive. He said that FIFA had lost an opportunity to influence major reforms in Qatar, the question of Human Rights, discrimination against women, the LGBT community and in particular highlighted the plight of the migrant workers. He said that it is in the media that up to 6,500 lives have been lost in the construction of the Stadia and the infrastructures in preparation for the games. It is reported that workers who migrated from countries such as India, Pakistan, and Nepal in the hope of finding better working and living standards, in a lot of cases worked excessive hours for little more than their bed and board. The minimum wage that was introduced at circa $ 257.00 per month, was too little too late. Women’s rights were also highlighted and the Authoritarian regime under which they lived. He noted that FIFA requested in 2009 that they put in place an International Ladies football team and that over a period of 8 years it is said that they played only 1 game. Values taken for granted in the Western world were in scarce supply in Qatar. More could have been done by FIFA to highlight the situation.

Greg Hughes made the point that each country had the right to practice it’s own customs and beliefs, a point which Seamus Gunn agreed with saying that there is no difficulty with respecting another person’s culture, while at the same time questioning and challenging certain aspects of it.

The abandonment of the wearing of the love bands at the beginning of the tournament, was another example of principles being compromised as was the refence to some pundits earning big money to be in Qatar commentating and promoting the matches.

As the football carnival leaves Doha and the Stadia are dismantled, it will be interesting to observe further developments.

Various topics were discussed in the Q&A that followed.

Festive greetings to all our listeners, friends, and clients.

Listen to the full interview below 👇