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World Cup Qatar 2022 is Everything That is Wrong With the World

Migrant Worker in Doha, Qatar, 2016 by Karlo Tasler

As a young journalist, back in 2016, I got an opportunity to visit Qatar and have a glance at what is going to become a central football stage six years later.

I came back home with a new iPhone!

Yes, those fuckers actually gave me a new iPhone. And not just me. Qatar sports delegates (I don’t remember what organisation they represented and I can’t be bothered to check who those guys actually were, which does not speak highly of my journalist qualities, but is it really important what extension of Qatar oil monarchy was in charge of bribing media representatives?) gave a new iPhone to every single journalist who then attended the International Sports Press Association congress in Doha.

Bribery is what they do. That is how Qatar got the World Cup 2022 in the first place. Cynics would say FIFA is the corrupted one and FIFA is the one who had set the rules, while Qatar only played by those rules. More than half of the 2010 FIFA executive committee (The guys who allocated the World Cup to Qatar and not to the USA in the final bid) have been suspended, indicted or come under investigation (of FBI), including ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter, Franz Beckenbauer and ex-FIFA vice-president Michel Platini. The corruption goes way deeper than football. The story says that Nicolas Sarkozy, the ex-French president, told his friend Platini he needed to vote for Qatar because apparently Qatar people had said to Sarkozy: “You don’t vote for Qatar, we don’t buy planes from France.” In the years that followed the day Qatar got the World Cup, the export of French aircrafts to Qatar has reached astronomical heights and France has chased in billions and billions of Qatari money.

I am as well sure Putin negotiated World Cup 2018 in the same manner and the Brazilian guy did the same just as the South African and German guys and all of them. As Sepp Blatter would say it now: “Qatar bid has been investigated only because Americans didn’t get the World Cup in the end.”

And he is probably right, but… Come on.

Who gives iPhones to journalists so casually??

I believe FIFA found in Qatar somebody who can really match their corruption abilities. I am not sure, though, if Qatar people have the same concept of bribery as the Western world has, or if they have simply got used to the idea that money could bring them anything, so they just offer money wherever, whenever and whomever not questioning the morality behind that.

However, the world has changed. It is pretty messy at the moment and the World Cup in Qatar is simply a projection of that shit. That very money-based-corruption system, according to my understanding, is creating more and more trouble in the world and at one point in the near future, it will collapse.

Just collapse.

All those pandemics and wars are simply the symptoms of the dysfunctional system.

Photo by Bradyn Trollip on Unsplash

That is why I believe my place this winter should be in Qatar. I want to witness the collapse, not for the sake of collapse, but for the sake of what is going to be born from the collapse. World Cup Qatar 2022 is a pinnacle of autoimmune capitalism and it is the last one that we are welcoming with current social values. The next World Cup will be played in such an environment which is at this moment simply inexplicable for most of us.

Stuff like that, do you know what I mean?

Anyways, back in Doha six years ago!

I was there discovering the world of sports journalism and, honestly, I didn’t get it much. I was writing some articles that didn’t make much sense, where I would show off with some stupid facts and implementing them in the story to make it smart. No context, no vision, no understanding of the complexity of life… Typical mainstream media prospect, really!

You can find one of those articles here! It is about corrupted FIFA.

https://www.aipsmedia.com/aips/pages/articles/2016/18127.html

Me (left) and dear colleague Veselin Drljević (right) by Carlo Pozzoni

But even then, naïve like a French maid, I could smell something fishy when I was given an iPhone.

Also, even then I was able to say “what the fuck” as media experts and PR people took us on a tour of the notorious Qatari labour camps while trying to explain to us that migrant workers didn’t miss anything there. Labour camps are buildings with hundreds of tiny rooms shared between 8ish workers, where they rest after the shifts spent on the construction sites, sometimes in temperatures of 40 degrees. Make no mistake, we were shown the best out of best rooms, reserved for journalist tours.

Room in the labour camp by Karlo Tasler

Human rights have been a story of the last decade when it comes to Qatar and the World Cup preparations. The most concerns have been raised over the kafala system, a system which requires migrants to have a sponsor when coming to Qatar. A sponsor is usually the employer they work for, who has the power to decide on their future. Most of the time, sponsors didn’t allow migrant workers to change jobs and there have been many cases when workers haven’t been paid properly either. Sponsors as well took control of their passports and often didn’t let them go out of the country. Even though PR ‘experts’ were taking us through the camp and explaining to us how the kafala system was amazing because workers could relax while everything would be sorted by the sponsor company, it was just astonishing to see the amount of control imposed on those workers.

Protection and control, as I wrote before and will write about in the future, are two sides of the same coin. There is no control without protection and no protection without control. The big question is — what Qatar government protect by imposing such control over migrants? Because it is definitely not migrants who are protected. The Guardian reported last year than 6500 migrants died while building stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup.

Who knows what the real numbers are. The government of Qatar claims, though, the mortality rate among those communities is within the expected range.

What do they protect? — that is the question I would seek an answer to while in Qatar.

Migrant Workers coming back from the shift by Karlo Tasler

The kafala system was reformed in 2020 after years of huge pressure from the Western world and although workers apparently got some benefits, we can imagine that human rights are still far from what the Western world thinks they should be. The major setback happened during the pandemic when those labour camps became quarantines where workers were imprisoned. Qatar was one of those countries super strict on COVID measures and all that shit, which is something the Western media hypocritically didn’t miss pointing out while diminishing human rights on an unprecedented level themselves.

COVID! Fuck! The greatest madness the human race has ever experienced, and the cornerstone for all the greatest madness that we are yet to experience.

Since my first visit to Qatar, I have kind of distanced myself from the media. COVID was a huge dividing factor. I didn’t like what the media made of that pandemic. I seek peace now while working as a bartender, writing blogs and books, and occasionally freelancing for some media organisations. Freelancing gives me the freedom to say shit, and more importantly, it saves me from becoming part of the certain narrative dominant in the media organisation.

The irony of things is that those media and journalists organisations that worship the God of COVID and lockdowns and vaccination and everything else are my best bet now in getting the accreditation for the World Cup.

Let me believe I am wise enough to balance between my freedom and the requirements of the media business. Something like Elon Musk, you know? He develops rockets on his own, but he still needs fucking NASA to provide him with infrastructure and everything else. Last summer I covered the Euros in London and Glasgow, opening some edgy questions, but with a balanced approach proved it can be done.

Football! All those questions have been asked through football, because football is life and if there is corruption, human-rights issues, hipocrisy and other shit going on around, then it can be explained through football as well.

Dear media, if you have balls to take a risk, help me get the accreditation for World Cup Qatar 2022. And hurry up because the deadline is on Thursday, July 21, 8 PM. Here is the accreditation process guidelines.

My bad for doing this last minute, but I have only recently realised I need a new iPhone!

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Karlo Tasler

Karlo Tasler

Explaining the complexity of life and its various perspectives through the beautiful game of football. Or rather the tragic game of football, so to speak.