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Scotland Not Making Qatar (A Good Thing)

Date: 16th November 2022

It’s never easy when your country misses a World Cup but unfortunately for the Tartan Army we’ve had to get used to that this century. 

But as this year’s competition gets set to take off in Qatar, it doesn’t seem to be as big a miss as previous tournaments have been for Scotland. 

I still can’t really comprehend just why FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. When they were handed that tournament Qatar had no World Cup worthy stadia and the country’s infrastructure wasn’t deemed a “high operational risk” by a Fifa committee who were sent to assess the various bids. The USA bid seemed the best and if Fifa wanted to take it to a new area of the world then Australia looked a good choice.

Yet Qatar won every round of voting and were announced as hosts. That news was met with calls of corruption. A chunk of that executive committee who selected Qatar were later arrested on corruption charges (although not directly linked to the 2022 World Cup bid). 

It also became pretty clear that it would be impossible for Qatar to host a World Cup in the months of June/July that we’ve always seen in the past. The heat would simply be too ferocious for the players and for the fans and that’s why we now have a winter World Cup. This should’ve been disclosed before the tournament was awarded. 

Qatar isn’t a traditional footballing nation. They’ve never qualified for a World Cup before. I have no issue with a country from the Middle East or an Arabian country to host a World Cup but it should probably be either Saudi Arabia or Iran from a footballing view in the Middle East(although both would still feel uneasy given human rights records) or a Morocco or Algeria if you wanted an Arab country. 

The human rights record at Qatar is another huge issue that makes us glad not to be there. The amount of foreign workers who have been used to build the stadia and the infrastructure who have suffered with extremely poor working conditions and those that have died is significant and is a problem that Fifa and Qatar simply can’t ignore because it has never gone away. 

The rights, or lack of, for the LGBT community in Qatar is also very disturbing. Fifa like to state that football is for everyone but this World Cup seems to contradict that statement. Former Fifa President Sepp Blatter’s answer to gay football fans who had raised concerns of Qatar hosting the event stated that gay supporters “should refrain from any sexual activities.”. That’s simply not good enough from football’s governing body! 

Fans are already complaining that facilities are not great. We’ve had a Danish TV reporter threatened by Qatari security officials during a live broadcast. This is all before the big kick-off on Sunday. 

This World Cup simply doesn’t feel like a festival for football fans. In truth Fifa has been too busy making the World Cup a super cash bonanza for decades now, fans seem to be much forgotten about. But this still feels different. Even had Scotland qualified I don’t think I’d be willing to make the trip to Qatar, nor would I have regretted not being there either! 

Here’s hoping that we can draw a line under Blatter regime after this cash heavy tournament and we can get back to just being about the football in 2026 and have the Tartan Army there! 

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