I’ve just been reading about the decision by the Qatari government to ban the sale of alcohol in and around football stadia during the World Cup. I’m not really sure what the fuss is about. If you are going for the sport, you can enjoy football without beer. If you were going with the for the drinking, Qatar probably isn’t the best place for you anyway.
As I understand it from attending rugby matches at football grounds, the sale of alcohol is restricted in the UK, and you aren’t even allowed to have the tops of soft drinks bottles. You have to allow the bar staff to take them off and retain them in case you should throw it at the players. It doesn’t seem a big deal.
Anyway, unless I’m missing the point, their attitude to alcohol isn’t the worst thing about the Qatari government. If you really want to be picky you could make a list of other points that raise concerns, like slavery, migrant workers, women’s rights and LGBT rights.
FIFA, the players and the world in general, has muttered a bit but not really done anything much about anything. In that it follows general sporting practice. After all, several host countries of recent sporting events have questionable records on human rights. Of course, the biggest ethical question hanging over the current World Cup is whether it should ever have gone ahead, as the allegations of self-enrichment (so much nicer as a word than “bribery” isn’t it?) seem to indicate that greed, rather than the good of the game, was the guiding principle in awarding the World Cup.
If you have a few minutes, read this, it’s a statement on human rights and the various pronouncements of sporting bodies, many of whom seem to ignore their own guidelines in awarding their events to the highest bidders. If not, and I wouldn’t blame you for not reading it, take it from me, money talks louder than ethics.
At this point, I suppose I should mention golf, but this article covers it better than I could, so have a look (it’s a quick read). I hadn’t heard the term “sportswashing” before.
That’s about it for the sporting part of the discussion. I will go on to Part 2 tomorrow and discuss a few other issues.
For now, I will leave you with a thought. Andy Murray. Works hard, wins things, does this. Perhaps we should show pictures of him to our football team so they can see what a proper sporting hero looks like.
I don’t have any pictures that relate to sport or ethics, so you’ll have to make do with some swans