Anyway, I've just sent the following self-explanatory letter to the FIFA President:
Dear Mr Blatter
If FIFA is prepared to countenance the idea that the World Cup could be awarded to a country that has never qualified for the world cup (nor any record of footballing achievement), no prospects for football development, no suitable football stadiums nor even football supporters, then we can certainly at least expect any such a country to be one which abides by laws of basic human decency. For example, one which allows entry to visitors irrespective of race or nationality. And we certainly would expect such a country to be free from institutional racism, homophobia and sexism. Since the World Cup is the greatest sporting celebration on earth, it would also surely be expected that in such a country alcohol would not be banned, and it would help if it was physically possible to be outside in such a country in the summer for more than 5 minutes without suffering sunstroke in temperatures guaranteed to be above 45 degrees centigrade. And we would certainly expect such a country NOT to be the major financier of Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organisations.
Indeed, the latest version of FIFA statutes document states prominently (in its own section, page 7):
- Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.
Can you please therefore explain the rationale for awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar - a country which not only breaches FIFA’s statutes, but which somehow fails to satisfy a single one of the above-mentioned very modest criteria of basic respectability. Qatar, the country:
- that does not allow entry to nationals from another of FIFA’s own countries, Israel. In fact, not only does it not allow entry to Israeli nationals, nor does it allow entry to nationals of any country who have their passport stamped from a visit to Israel.
- where homosexuality is punishable by death and where even an American citizen was sentenced to six months imprisonment and 90 lashes for homosexual activity.
- which, through its international Al Jazeera propaganda news network, is the world’s major exporter of anti-semitism and anti—Western jihadism.
- which through its newspapers and TV programmes, that are exported to the Muslim world, not only perpetuate consistent holocaust-denial but provide continually novel anti-Semitism. Indeed, a country which, despite being considered by the USA as an ‘ally’ was identified by the White House in 2003 as being a persistent and unacceptable source of vicious anti-Semitism .
- which hosts ‘the world’s leading Islamic Sunni scholar’ Yusuf al-Qaradawi who, apart from his open hatred of fellow Shiite Muslims, is best known for issuing the fatwas that a) formally allowed Islamic suicide bombers to target women and children and b) formally allowed women not only to become suicide bombers but also to wear western clothing in the act of their suicide bombing in order to deceive their victims (in fact this is the sum total of his contribution to advancing the rights of women in Islam).
- where even taking photographs of ‘local people’ is illegal.
Given FIFA’s statutes stated above, I know that Qatar’s discrimination against Israeli and Jews are especially problematic for you (and I know this because I have seen some of the documentation of the bid). For the first time in World Cup history there will be a host country that does not allow entry to nationals from another of FIFA’s own countries, Israel. I understand that the Qataris have explicitly assured FIFA that they will allow entry to Israelis for ‘the duration of the tournament’. I have even heard that FIFA regards this as an indication of its own “positive influence” ; but that is a bit like saying it would have been a good thing to award the Olympic Games to Nazi Germany in 1936 if the Nazis agreed to postpone their pograms against the Jews for the duration of the tournament... Oh wait a minute ... that is exactly what did happen (so it seems the ethical choices of international sports committees have not changed much over the years).
I understand that the Qataris have also assured FIFA members by noting that Israeli sports participants have previously been allowed into the country and that they have even hosted Israeli trade delegations. What they would not have told you is how exceptional these events were and how bitterly they were received by the country’s small but indoctrinated population. The fact that Qatar has refused to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, and will not do so by 2022, is all that you really need to know.
What is certain is that many football supporters who would love to attend the 2022 World Cup – homosexuals, Jews, women, Israelis, or just supporters who also like to drink beer or take photographs – will effectively be denied the opportunity to attend.
If it is not too late for FIFA to reconsider its decision then you simply must do so.
If it is then today was the day that world football died. In either case I would like some explanation of your decision.
Update 2014: 14 reasons why the Qatar World Cup will be a disaster