As northern Europe in general, and Ireland, in particular, enjoys its 8th week of good weather, very rare, we now have the world cup come along and join the party. The world cup, the big boy, no tournament comes near. No other sport can gather such a high standard of participants from around the world as soccer. Soccer or Football is truely the global game. This is a feast of nations, it is a global event, global, like the internet, global, like climate change, global.
As the corporations do their best to distract with their moving billboards pitchside, that green rectangle, where all eyes are focused still has the capacity to play out the dramas it always has. It is real and it is organic and it is human. It is wonderful, sport is wonderful. However, the beautiful game is drenched in money, not always for the worse but increasingly I see the sponsor devouring the host.
When news broke some years back that FIFA had awarded Qatar the world cup a collective groan was uttered from most football nations around the world. FIFA now finally had revealed itself for sale to the highest bidder. The oil rich country with precisely zero football pedigree will host the world’s most important football tournament in 2022.
Why not give the middle east a go you say? Fuck the middle east I say! these lands that time forgot. They make worshiping a book authored by a paedophile warlord the focus of their reality and are mostly intolerant of the values of the modern world. This, of course, is just the start, Qatar a country where institutional racism is par for the course will spend as many lives from its subhuman workforce as needed to build the stadia. This is before we mention the heat, June and July in the middle east is brutal. So it is planed that the players and peoples of the world will gather in air-conditioned stadia in June 2022, or maybe not, maybe it’s Jan 2022, or is it ? who knows maybe we can disrupt the seasons of every European and South American League.
The more I try to picture this scene the more I find it fanciful. This oil world cup will also be the largest, as FIFA dilute the competition evermore, to, in their words, unite the world, but clearly its dollar bills again. I think it no more fitting a place for capitalism to finally unravel then in the fossil fuel factory of the world. I don’t want this to happen of course, I want the party to continue, but it can’t, no more then a footballer can play forever, time simply waits for no man, and the laws of the universe are coldly and quietly imposed as they always have been. This party is getting more raucous by the year, and it will end, the lights will go up and the needle will leave the record.
Every 4 years we meet then, as a globe, and play football. But 4 years is a long time as those of us who have been watching have discovered. The icecaps are hemorrhaging ice, the great barrier reef is withering and dying at rates barely imagined only 2 world cups ago. What would wake the world up to the seriousness of our plight, the cancelation of the world cup. 80 years of tournaments, running in tandem to the great expansion. We know it won’t last forever. I don’t want it to end because when it does, it is never coming back. But can I see team lining up in air-conditioned stadia in Qatar in 2022, for some reason, I can’t. I hope I am wrong.