There is something rotten in the state of football in general. Birmingham City FC is in a sorry state but far worse things are going on elsewhere. The worst thing that could happen to us is that our club would go out of existence, which is bad enough, but in Qatar construction workers are dying as the country prepares for the 2022 World Cup.
The Guardian published a report1 about the conditions of Nepalese migrant workers in Qatar that amount to modern-day slavery. Some have had pay withheld and been denied access to free drinking water as they work in searing heat. Young men have died from heart attacks. The report says that “the overall picture is of one of the richest nations exploiting one of the poorest to get ready for the world’s most popular sporting tournament.”
Fifa’s head 2022 Inspector has said that it was a mistake to award the World Cup to Qatar and that it is impractical to play football in the summer heat.2 Now there are discussions about moving the competition to winter. And Fifa’s ethics committee are investigating the bidding process for both the 2022 and 2018 World Cups.3 I don’t know what that investigation will find but it seems to me that awarding the World Cup to Qatar is something more sinister than a mistake; it seems so unlikely that those who voted were unaware of Qatar’s climate.
I’m hoping that England will beat Poland on Tuesday night to ensure their place in Brazil next year. I’m afraid it may be the last World Cup in which I’ll want England to play. The suspect bidding for 2018 and 2022 has tainted the competition.