The game of football is a global sport. The rules of the game are the same notwithstanding the venue. However and supposedly it is a game played in different contexts, geographical zones, weather, climate, altitude, density, culture and among different races. The different circumstances of the different geopolitical zones of the world condition their approach and understanding of the game. For example South American football is football played in the context of the overall South American geopolitical conditions and circumstances. The same applies to Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. The package is a totality. It is football played in the context of different weather conditions, values, politics, society, culture and environments.
However, this is as far as it gets. This is because football authorities and stake holders in Europe do not seem to understand the above paradigm whenever a major international tournament, especially football is being hosted by countries outside Europe. The attitudes of European stake holders and powers have always been hostile, dictatorial, aggressive, uncooperative, discriminatory, biased, angry, very critical, disrespectful, and undermining. Their obnoxious grip of world football authority and power has not helped at all.
According to Greg Dyke of the English FA, “you can’t hold world cup in the summer in QATAR”. Why not? If football represents a global game played in different global contexts and environments, why can’t the 2022 world cup be held in the summer in Qatar? Whenever a world tournament is zoned to a particular part of the world, it is invariably, an invitation to the rest of the world to come and test their skills against other competitors in a different geopolitical and cultural setting. Football must not be played in the context and whims and caprices of Europe. If this should be the case, why is it then called a global sport. People from other environments should be able to shift from their comfort zones, and compete to win in other environments, and/or circumstances. If there are sharks in Qatari waters in 2022, the whole world should go to Qatar and swim with the Sharks.
Other nations visit Europe to compete in various world events; notwithstanding their dark grey wintry environments. How would the world produce true world champions if every major world tournament is conditioned to suit and reflect European conditions. Qatar has been bullied to provide air conditioners to cover whole football pitches, in order to satisfy powers that be in Europe. But still as recent as January, 2014, “there are still calls for new 2022 world cup host as football recoils from plans to play Qatar tournament in winter”. European countries and organisations not only want to eat their cake, but also to have it. According to the Daily Mail- “European Countries have given their support to move the Qatar 2022 World Cup to the winter, but this will mean an 8 week interruption to the Premier League season”. While they are thinking about how to successfully interfere in international tournaments to suit their competitors and fans, they are at same time thinking about how the interference disrupts their domestic games. You can’t have it both ways.
Qatar should stand firm and resist FIFA and their ilks from either moving the 2022 world cup to winter or moving it entirely out of Qatar. The international community should support Qatar, and if possible have the matter taken to Court of Arbitration for Sport. Qatar can lead the way to stop this serial ganging up to discredit countries hosting international tournaments.
Qatar is not the only victim of European intimidation and harassment. Days after the draw for 2014 Brazil world cup the news was for Brazil “to take stand as post world cup draw violence raises world cup fears”. Violence in any form should not to be condoned, but most South American superstars playing football in Europe are products of these “violent environments”. The negative and hostile campaign from Europe was that “the Brazilian crowd trouble raise fears and spreads alarm, and the host nation face criticism of capacity to deal with crowd problems”. The fear mongering went on “violence in Brazilian domestic game sparks world cup safety fears”.
Furthermore, European gang up and intimidation did not abate when South Africa hosted the word cup in 2010. Even at the last minute, Europe still had fears as to whether South Africa would successfully hold the 2010 world cup. According to Simon Austin, “There’s no turning back now. Talk of a plan B can be forgotten”. “The question now is whether South Africa can put on a successful World Cup. Will fears about crime, inadequate infrastructure and the pricing out of ordinary fans be realised?” So even at the eve of the South African tournament, European apologists did not believe, that it would be a “festival of football” in Africa. They were wrong, South Africa triumphed. However, European football powers came back home after the tournament and banned VUVUZELA in all UEFA organised football events. “Uefa feels that instrument’s use would not be appropriate in Europe where a continuous loud background noise would be emphasised.” Meaningless.
The Sochi winter Olympics commencing in February 2014, and the ongoing Australia Lawn Tennis tournament are not spared by European interference.
Why must international football tournaments be played in atmosphere/environments that are liked, dictated, and conducive for Europe. World cup tournaments including football, must be held in the context of the country hosting the event. Europe should learn to respect other nations’ relative societal, political, cultural, and geophysical environments. International tournaments any where in the world must be organised and packaged according to values, norms, and the host nations’ environmental contexts. Nations hosting tournaments, which they legally competed to host, deserve support, respect, encouragement, and not hostility racism and intimidation.
Austin Aneke is the Editor of UK Immigrant Magazine, and June12post.com
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International Tournaments, European Hostility and the 2022 Qatari World Cup By Austin Aneke