Vassilis Samprakos writes about the history of the World Cup, which is intertwined with the history of the planet.
World Cup 1978. FIFA does not change its decision, on the way to the final stage of the competition, and allows its holding in Argentina, during the dictatorship of Jorge Rafael Videla, bypassing calls to change the country. – The seat and taking the risk that some of the federations that participated in the World Cup might boycott it. At that time, FIFA had left the era of “innocence” and amateurism, acquired the first sponsors and started working under the direction of Brazilian João Havelange as a company.
From then until now, in the past 44 years, the history of world football and the World Cup has been filled with similar stories. Whether it is about the election, or whether it is about awarding the World Cup, in the proceedings, you will always find dark spots and dark stories. Now, thanks to the investigations carried out by international authorities since 2015 into its actions, history is filled with specific facts and incidents that make you feel sorry, angry and ashamed of the way its management conducts world football.
But how could that happen, and why would football escape the path that all spheres of life have taken? How can football not be affected by the context and behavior of life?
The World Cup in Qatar isn’t much different from the World Cup in Russia – unless we’re kidding each other. The manner in which Qatar and Russia secured the championship is no different from the path followed by all previous tournaments – whether they managed to win the event or not. The way Qatar builds infrastructure is not different from the Chinese way, and a host of other products that we consume. So putting aside the fad that hides the phrase “I don’t want to deal with a bloody World Cup,” we should also be saddened by what’s been going on in soccer life for the last 45 years or so, is, since I became professional. But mostly we have to be very sad about what happens in life away from football – in Greece and the world.
I wish Qataris were the only ones who don’t respect women, don’t respect diversity, and don’t respect immigrants. Those of us who are big kids are so bad at making fun of each other.
At every football event I watch, I try to separate football from the rest in order to enjoy what I love – the game of football. I’ve been doing the same thing since Sunday with the World Cup in Qatar. I am disgusted by what has happened over the past 12 years in the ‘Qatar World Cup’ affair, and I am angry at what has been happening in FIFA for decades, but because I am someone who is equally angry at what is happening in football and the rest of life – in Greece and the people, I am deeply disturbed. From this hypocritical attitude towards the World Cup in Qatar. Suddenly we’re trying to convince ourselves that all of us, and the rest of the planet, are ambassadors for inclusion and respect for human rights.
As I saw football at the World Cup in Russia, I will also see football in Qatar. And when the football match is over, I will feel about the situation in Qatar as I did before the World Cup. I’m too old to make fun of myself.
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