FIFA must be stopped

Eitan Rattner, Guest Writer

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. The greatest sporting tournament in the world. Millions of eyes glued to their television screens. The one month every four years where everything stops. But this year’s World Cup in Qatar is problematic, due to the basic health and human rights violations of the host country.

According to CNN, 500 migrant workers have died building the seven new World Cup stadiums around Doha, Qatar. 500 people who came in from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. 500 people who cannot go back home because they literally put their blood, sweat and tears into this World Cup.

This is the first of the terrible injustices that have occurred in Qatar since the nation started preparing for the World Cup in 2010.

Apart from immigrant workers dying due to the harsh conditions, basic human rights are being impeded on. In Qatar, it is forbidden to identify with the LGBTQ+ community. It is reprehensible that such homophobia is the law in Qatar.

In an interview with Time magazine, Khalid Salman, a former Qatari soccer player and representative of this year’s World Cup, stated that homosexuality is “haram [forbidden] and damages in the mind.” This is atrocious. How is it possible for people to have such a closed mindset in modern times? The World Cup is supposed to be for anyone to enjoy but by holding the games in Qatar, FIFA is alienating a large group of people just because of their sexuality.

The game of soccer is something that brings people together from across the world. The fight, the passion, the community. A game where everyone can enjoy rooting for their favorite team as they fight to hoist the World Cup trophy. 

But FIFA’s corruption has tainted the game. It has become an organization where high-ranking officials can do whatever they want because we give them the power to do so. We love this game and will do anything for it and the higher-ups know that. That is why they are able to do anything worry-free, because at the end of the day we are addicted to this game like a drug, and will watch it despite anything despite their clearly corrupt actions. 

A great example of obvious corruption is the trial of the ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the ex-vice president Michel Platini in 2015. AP News says that in 2011 Blatter approved a $2 million payment straight into Platini’s account. Even though the corruption was obvious, they both were acquitted from the fraud charges when brought to court.

Saying that fans should boycott the World Cup is asking too much. But we do need to pressure our governments to investigate FIFA’s high ranking officials and remove any corrupted officials from power. We must also force change inside FIFA itself to ensure that the officials elected are trusted individuals. For far too long, FIFA has been corrupt. They must elect individuals who are transparent, are not in it for the money and are not only passionate about the game but about upholding human rights standards. To do this we must protest FIFA and pressure officials to change and only then can the World Cup be a true celebration of the game the world loves.

In my eyes, a perfect world with fair rules and no corruption is one where the FIFA heads are elected by the people. The candidates should be thoroughly tested to know that they will never act selfishly and everything that they do is for the good of the game. 

The game of soccer is just that, a game, and we have to start treating it like one again.