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It is about corruption and human rights. I know in the US this may not be important [an actual world cup where there are teams from other nations] of the most popular sport on earth but it has some relevance when its governing body is corrupt.
Sepp Blatter has bemoaned a “storm against Fifa” over the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar and put the allegations of corruption down to “discrimination and racism” among the world governing body’s critics.
Even the sponsors whose main concern is profit are worried:
“We are concerned about the situation and are monitoring developments; we expect Fifa to take all necessary steps to address the issue,” the brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev said in a statement. Its Budweiser beer has signed up as a World Cup tournament sponsor until 2022.
BP, whose Castrol oil brand is sponsoring the World Cup in Brazil, said it expected Fifa to deal with the issue in a “right and proper manner”.
Sony, Adidas, Visa, Coca-Cola and Hyundai, all members of the top tier of Fifa sponsors, spoke out on Sunday in favour of a thorough investigation of the bribery claims. Of the top-tier sponsors, only Emirates airlines was silent.
This summer, Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for 2022.
This is not about football, this is not about racism, this is about corruption and human rights abuses on a grand scale.
I agree with the sponsors, an investigation is needed and the world cup moved elsewhere.
Brazil is also in the corruption spotlight this year and heaven knows Russia in 2018 may become a political football, but Qatar was always a very strange choice.