Some final remarks

“There is the drastic step of not contributing to this system; to refuse to buy the broadcasting subscriptions; to refuse to go to games. That still feels like it’s asking far too much of people so emotionally invested in this, and like blaming individuals for a system way beyond them. This should still be on the main stake-holders in this system, and those who are meant to safeguard it. These are the ones driving it. The major clubs and bodies are taking conscious decisions and stances that should be scrutinised. It is on them.” – Miguel Delaney[i].

I’d like to scream it through a megaphone: “Everyone should boycott the World Cup in Qatar.” I would want to personally grab every football fan by the shoulders and talk sense into them: not watching is the only correct option. But even though this project is a plea for just that, I think it’s important to emphasize that the greatest responsibility doesn’t lie with football fans.

As Miguel Delaney says, we’re part of a system which can only be changed by those at the top. But unfortunately, the Qataris don’t care about football, they only care about the (geo)political goals they can achieve through it. Football officials, who are also at the summit of the pyramid of responsibility, just want to grow football. Sponsors just want to advertise. Coaches and players, one level down, want to participate in the tournament they’ve always dreamt about. When those in power don’t do anything, why should they pay for it? News outlets need to turn a profit, stories about human rights abuses don’t sell and barely change anything. Responsibility slides down the pyramid and ends up at the bottom, with football fans. We are now the only ones who can take our responsibility.

But is it fair to always put responsibility on individuals at the bottom of the pyramid? When someone takes a flight, he or she should feel shame because of the climate, when someone makes a racist joke he or she should go and read James Baldwin. Both are justifiable, but this focus on individuals makes sure that the people who could really make a difference – politicians and CEOs under whose supervision these practices (are continuing to) happen – aren’t pressured into doing so. Why don’twe demand for them to take responsibility?

Therefore, it feels wrong to criticize my brothers, friends, neighbors, or even sports journalists for watching the World Cup. They’re not responsible for all this. The Al-Thani’s and Infantino are, and they would love it when we all point at each other instead of at them. Do I believe, deep down, that people who do watch Qatar 2022 slip up morally? Yes. Do I think they should be judged for it? No. Or at least not as harshly as those at the top of the pyramid.

But I do think every football fan should take a moment to consider watching or not watching. If you don’t want to take at least that minimum level of responsibility, I think I can judge you for that. The least you can do for all the countless victims of this World Cup, is read up on the problems, think about the part you yourself are playing in it and then make a conscious decision.

And if you reach the same conclusions as I have, you could start a dialogue with people around you. Not to judge them or to show off your ‘moral superiority’, but to get them to think about it. This was the goal of this project. I hope, for Kenneth, Adi, Vishnu, Ganesh, and all others, that I’ve succeeded.

[i] Delaney, M. (2020, February 14). What can we do to save football? [Article]. From The Independent:


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