The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ is just 48 hours away from kick off now, and the excitement is positively palpable. In the last 24 hours alone, I’ve seen accusations of bribery, news breaking that the World Cup will be basically alcohol-free (which sponsors Budweiser are VERY pleased about), and not a single England flag anywhere in London. Such anticipation. How will we contain ourselves?
So I’ll get to some of that fun news in a moment, but first lets talk about the lack of enthusiasm that I’ve noticed going into this tournament, because I think it’s interesting. At this point, just a couple days out from a World Cup kicking off, there is usually a genuine buzz in England. Everyone would be looking forward to a festival of football, and the excitement for England’s hopes in the tournament would be at their peak, with zero football to inject a cold dose of disappointing reality into everyone’s expectations. But so far it doesn’t feel like that’s the case here at all. It doesn’t even feel like the media are drumming things up either. There’s been plenty of news coverage leading up to the tournament, but none of it is infused with the usual excitement.
I don’t think there’s any single cause of this lack of buy-in for the World Cup in Qatar. Rather, I think this World Cup is suffering death by a thousand cuts. At every step of the way the tournament covers itself in shame and puts a dampener on any excitement that might be brewing. Qatar being awarded the World Cup was surrounded by controversy and accusations of corruption, the stadiums have been built off the back of atrocious human rights abuses (including many deaths), and the tournament itself will take place with accusations that Qatar is paying people to pretend to be fans, while genuine fans stay away for fear that they may not be safe in the country due to their sexuality (though this is definitely not a new issue with World Cup hosts, it continues to be abhorrent that LGBTQ+ people cannot attend without putting themselves at some risk). Any one of these problems would totally justify someone not being excited about Qatar 2022, but taken together, they’re sure to put a dent in things.
Football fans: well they moved the World Cup to winter, interrupted the football season, then changed the date of the first match, not sure how else Qatar can inconvenience people!!— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) November 18, 2022
Qatar: hold your beer
Add to these extremely serious issues the more trivial but not insignificant issues like interrupting the season and putting players’ bodies under even more strain; the news that alcohol inside the World Cup stadiums will be limited to those that have an extortionate amount of money to pay for it; and the fact that the English simply cannot get excited for things unless it’s sunny outside (but for that one week a year where we do get sun we’re totally unhinged), I think we have a recipe for, if not disaster, certainly a failure of enthusiasm going into this tournament. I can’t speak for everywhere else, but it feels like this World Cup is going to have a hard time getting people going here in London.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure if England storm out the gates and have a really good tournament, the English will find a way to get excited about the Qatar World Cup (and it is probably not helping that there’s quite a lot of pessimism about our chances going into this tournament). After all, wins make all the bad go away. Based on allegations that surfaced yesterday, it would appear the Qatari’s agree (if there’s any truth to the rumours, it might be a lot of nonsense)!
Exclusive: Qatar bribed eight Ecuadorian players $7.4 million to lose the opener(1-0 ⚽️ 2nd half). Five Qatari and #Ecadour insiders confirmed this.We hope it's false. We hope sharing this will affect the outcome.The world should oppose FIFA corruption.@MailSport #WorldCup2022— Amjad Taha أمجد طه (@amjadt25) November 17, 2022
It feels a little glib to whine too much about fans not being allowed beers in stadiums built out of human bones. It obviously spoils things a bit for some fans, but I’m not sure I feel that strongly that Qatar should be forced to serve alcohol when it goes against common religious customs in their country (funny that they find a way for the rich though...). Of all the problems with the 2022 World Cup, this seems like an extremely low priority. Modern slavery should not be required to build gargantuan theatres for our entertainment, and no one should have to stay away from the tournament through fear their sexuality might put them in danger.
This whole thing is a mess. Am I talking about the World Cup or this relatively unstructured, incoherent Daily Bee? Who knows. I guess I should stop being a misery and ruining the fun.
The Daily Buzz
Do you think the Qatar World Cup will end up being a success despite everything leading up to the tournament kicking off? Will we all just forget what it took to get here once the first ball is kicked?