We clip the flags to the car, invite our friends to watch football and fire up the grill. Germany united football schland, the World Cup is coming, the next summer fairy tale can begin?
Stop. No, it feels like winter in Germany already and unfortunately the tournament is taking place in an absolute monarchy that applies different standards for the coexistence of people than the German Basic Law. So we, the viewers from afar, have a problem with Qatar.
A World Cup begins on Sunday that has withstood all international protests. The World Cup, which could not be prevented and which ultimately could not be prevented because its cancellation would have called into question the functioning of our way of life – where prosperity and ethics are often at odds.
Many of us are torn when it comes to Qatar. Watch the games or look away? We should look very carefully, away from the games. Qatar holds up the mirror to us. Much of our prosperity is also based on injustice. We look the other way when our clothes are produced in slave-like labor in Bangladesh. But now we have to look. We can’t look away if we want to live the emotions surrounding football and that’s where our problem lies.
Not a team, not even a single player is boycotting the tournament
We could not drink Coca-Cola or use a Visa card for four weeks now. But that does little harm to these major sponsors of the tournament. Not a team, not even a single player in the world wanted and will boycott this tournament in Qatar.
That’s not surprising, because anyone who has made it so far in the professional business of men’s football had to sell their soul early on – to players’ agents, to the unconditional uncompromising will to be successful. The pros are companies, there are a lot of people involved, they can’t jump off even before a World Cup like this. Their contracts prevent them from doing so.
But, as always in life, this is not the whole truth. There are also small nations that play along. People who fulfill their lifelong dream by participating in a World Cup, reach the pinnacle of their professional career.
Why aren’t footballers allowed to practice their profession with contradictions, just like others who sit on their office chairs and stare at their Made in China computers? Even outside of football, many people subordinate much of their career, push injustice out of their consciousness or accept it on the way up.
Before we freeze, we’ll take the gas from Qatar if necessary
Qatar is also an opportunity for us to define more clearly these contradictions and injustices in our lives. And of course there is the opportunity to enter into discourse so that at least nuances could change. It may be decades before women and queer people can move freely there. But at least equality in the Gulf is already an issue.
Something could actually change with this World Cup. It will be exciting to see how the players and everyone involved will deal with the situation. Do they forget the big topic or keep it in their head? From the kick-off to the final whistle, 90 minutes of football is the order of the day for the pros, but not necessarily for the spectators in the stadium, then there can be protests even in Qatar.
The World Cup is a game of money and compromises. Before we freeze, we’ll take the gas from Qatar if necessary. After all, Robert Habeck was already there on a shopping spree, albeit without execution. We should keep talking and shouting about human rights throughout the tournament, we can still watch 90 minutes of football, but we don’t have to. And we prefer to leave the flags in the cupboard at this World Cup.
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