This World Cup is No Fun!

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  • It is definitely bad that the World Cup is being hosted in a country where homosexuality is illegal.
  • I am not in love with the vast fan cities made of tents.
  • The billionaire takeover of Newcastle followed the billionaire takeover of Manchester City which followed the billionaire takeover of Chelsea.

Joel Golby explains why, at least in his opinion, the biggest sporting event has been reduced to a corporate, hollow, you’ll-need-a-bath-after-watching-it husk, as reported by GQ.

Greatest competition 

The thought occurred to me yesterday as I was watching the England game on a laptop in my office, anxiously awaiting the insane 14 minutes of added time to pass so I could best plan my lunch dash for a sandwich. The Globe Cup is just the greatest competition in, well, the world, which is something I’ve never considered before. One in four summers was made a little bit more magical by the technicolour backdrop of my youth, and it also provided us all with some of the greatest sporting moments in history (Maradona playing England! Headbutt from Zidane! Spain’s throw-in by Milad Mohammadi). I’ve seen it in bars as a young person with a poor hairstyle, as a young adult with a decent haircut, and in assembly halls, while sitting cross-legged in a room full of Year 9 students, watching as the Ronaldinho goal drifted over David Seaman before we were all required to perform math. Nothing has influenced me as much as it has to collect commemorative coins and stickers, make wall charts, and entering sweepstakes. Nothing motivates Pepsi to create better commercials. Nothing compares to the World Cup. 

Not so good

However, this one is terrible. The games are so lifeless they appear to be taking place on the moon, there are stadiums that are only half full of sober spectators who have travelled great distances to sleep in a tent, and the new (necessary) five-substitution system makes every group game feel like a strange exhibition friendly. This is the seventh World Cup I can recall watching in my lifetime, and typically by this point, I would have purchased a vuvuzela. I realise we are only a few days into the tournament, some saying, “It sucks, actually,” is equivalent to showing up to a house party at 7.30 pm and asking aloud why it isn’t “popping off in here yet.” However, this is the seventh World Cup I can remember watching in my lifetime. Naturally, the fact that the entire situation is rife with hypocrisy and corruption does not help. In the past, I have really rather enjoyed FIFA’s deceit and rottenness because it is carried out with Cruella de Vil-levels of non-subtlety (“Yeah, can I get 101 of your softest pups please? It’s not for a coat,” was so absurd and exaggerated that it was actually rather admirable. Even though Qatar and FIFA have refuted claims that they acted improperly during the World Cup bidding process, it does seem as though the age-old system of “let’s give the World Cup to whoever can funnel us the most money via the most discreet back-channels” has finally come to a head here in Qatar.

Modern slavery 

I’ll keep the summary brief because you already know what’s systemically wrong with this World Cup – I believe most of us have had a gnawing, uneasy debate with ourselves about it that has concluded in, “Fine, I’ll watch the World Cup, but I won’t buy a shirt.” It is unquestionably undesirable that a nation where homosexuality is prohibited is hosting the World Cup. The fact that the World Cup is being held in a nation were wearing an armband to show solidarity for the LGBTQ+ community is punishable by a yellow card is unquestionably wrong. It is undoubtedly bad that the World Cup will be held in a nation where, according to The Guardian, 6,500 migrant workers have reportedly perished since the bid was accepted in 2010, and it is even worse that many of them have been performing that labour in conditions that have been compared to “modern slavery.” Nothing screams “please don’t think about any of these things” like paying David Beckham to visit, showing up in a bunch of suits, applauding before every game, and pulling a “Hey, come on: it’s not that horrible” face. (David Beckham said this week his hope that the World Cup in Qatar would serve as a platform for growth.)

Given how risky it is to play football in Qatar in the summer, it is undoubtedly unfortunate that the World Cup is being held in the winter and messes with the domestic seasons of pretty much every nation in the northern hemisphere. The amount of energy being used to cool the stadiums down to a playable and watchable temperature is, in my opinion, not ideal. The enormous tent cities don’t have my heart. The moral dilemma of whether it’s appropriate for me to watch it or not is primarily on me, a perfect little angel and this kind of irritates me. Why do I need to process all the powerful dark energy this competition produced? Raheem Sterling’s meaningless goal in a group game that England has already practically won is all I want to see!

Uncorrupt sport

Of all, at the top level of the game, it’s pretty challenging to watch football guilt-free. Following the billionaire takeover of Manchester City, which came after the billionaire takeover of Chelsea, came the billionaire takeover of Newcastle. Leicester, a tenacious underdog with a wealthy owner, won the league. Football has issues ranging from how much it costs its fans to watch it, to how many young men leave the academy system and struggle with depression and anxiety without any support, to how many former athletes go bankrupt five years after retiring. We’re getting mired down in wealthy owners. It would be foolish to anticipate a clean World Cup, and perhaps even more foolish to anticipate a clean sporting event. The event founded on suspected backhanders and human rights violations—I can hardly believe I’m saying this—isn’t even enjoyable.

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Source: GQ


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