TAll other things being equal, the launch of the 2022 World Cup was celebrated on Sunday, November 20, in Al-Khor, about fifty kilometers north of Doha, like what was done a few years ago. decades, when a shopping center opened on the edge of a city. The local politicians (the Emir Al Thani and the leaders of the region), the boss of the area of activity (Gianni Infantino, the president of the International Football Federation [FIFA]the “government” of international football) and the first customers (spectators and television viewers from all over the world) were gathered, under the watchful eye of the media, to witness the opening of the doors.
The comparison stops there, because, in terms of scale, this World Cup is on another planet, that of excess. The officials of the International Football Federation decided so in December 2010: stadiums would grow on a territory as large as Corrèze and Creuse combined, on arid land but irrigated with “gazodollars”, where 2.9 million people live. inhabitants, of which only 10% are indigenous. The list of problems concealed by FIFA to entrust the organization to the highest bidder is long. In Qatar, women’s rights are limited, homosexuality illegal, foreign workers work in conditions of another age on construction sites, and some lose their lives.
Faced with such a gloomy picture, one would have expected a leader of European culture, the Italian-Swiss Gianni Infantino, at the head of FIFA since 2016, to commit to initiatives inviting the host country, and others, to progressivism. On the other hand, on Saturday November 19, Mr. Infantino delivered a virulent plea to the media for Qatar and against Europe, the continent where the most critical voices are heard.
Cynicism and indecency
“For what we Europeans have done for the past three thousand years, we should apologize for the next three thousand years before giving moral lessons to others”, he launched, showing an embarrassing relativism and anachronism. During this speech, Mr. Infantino ended up switching to cynicism and indecency, claiming in particular, on Qatari soil, to feel “gay” and “migrant worker”.
As often during such meetings, after the controversies, the sports spectacle could have taken over. Football fans are not responsible for the mistakes of FIFA. They find there a happy distraction contrasting with a tormented time. However, several European teams wanted to express their concerns during the competition by wearing an armband symbolizing their attachment to a more inclusive world than the country where they are playing. Called to order by FIFA, they had to give it up.
In response, German gamers expressed their feelings of being censored on Wednesday, November 23, putting a hand over their mouth during the official photo preceding their match against the Japanese. It is time for Mr. Infantino and his supporters at FIFA to break with the disconnect they have shown in recent days and finally hear the message sent to them. To do this, they would need to establish a governance capable of distancing itself from the powers of money and which is dedicated exclusively to the promotion of universal and popular football. Are these men capable of such an aggiornamento?