“Western criticism of the decision to award the games to Qatar smacks of blind prejudice.”
Over the past period, Western media coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has been dominated by the controversy surrounding the event rather than the sport itself.
The BBC refrained from broadcasting the opening ceremony on television, choosing instead to cover criticism of the host country, while the Wall Street Journal published a report under the title Qatar begins the World Cup with defeat and empty seats.
Meanwhile, The Independent published a picture of the stands during the halftime break, claiming that thousands of Qatar fans left the World Cup opener after the first half.
However, some Western media, activists, and influencers did not remain silent and spoke out against the alleged Western stereotypes and prejudices.
The Economist and The New York Times published articles defending Qatar’s right to host the tournament, while The Times of London published an article saying that criticism of Qatar was laced with hypocrisy.
Critics of Western media coverage of Qatar countered that other countries with questionable human rights records had not been subjected to such scrutiny when hosting world sporting events.
Prominent media professionals and activists also sharply criticized the Western media under the hashtag #QATAR2022, accusing it of hypocrisy, racism, and Islamophobia due to the campaign he is launching against Qatar after it hosted the 2022 World Cup.
Sports analyst and former English player Gary Lineker criticized the BBC’s neglect of human rights issues in Russia during the 2018 World Cup, coinciding with its focus on the same file during the Qatar 2022 World Cup, according to The New York Times in its report on November 23, 2022.
The newspaper pointed out that the former England national team player considered that the BBC should have talked more about Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and its record in the field of human rights, when the country hosted the World Cup in 2018.
“BBC sports presenters discussed human rights issues in Qatar during its coverage of the opening match of the tournament,” according to the newspaper.
The BBC should have spoken out more about Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its human rights record when the country hosted the World Cup in 2018, said Gary Lineker, the broadcaster’s prominent soccer commentator and a former England player.https://t.co/v75nf2jd7j
In turn, the American broadcaster of Egyptian origin, Ayman Mohyeldin, criticized the BBC for not broadcasting the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar, although it broadcast, only 9 months ago, the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in China, a country literally accused of committing genocide.
The BBC didn’t air Qatars World Cup opening ceremony in protest. Yet just 9 months ago, the BBC aired the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in China, a country literally accused of committing genocide. GTOH with your sanctimony. The epitome of hypocrisy and double standards! pic.twitter.com/zinn6tdhXC
Mohyeldin, MSNBC host, also commented in an article about the Western attack against Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup, saying: “Recent coverage of Qatar shows the depths of Western prejudice, performative moral outrage and, perhaps most significantly, gross double standards.”
He asked, “Is this truly about human rights, or is it that Western pundits can’t stomach the idea that an Arab Middle East country will host the World Cup?”
He added, “It is clear that the human rights records of the United States and Mexico were also not discussed when FIFA awarded them the 2026 World Cup!!”
In this regard, The Economist magazine defended, in its editorial on November 17, 2022, Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup finals, and said that it is the best place for a major sporting event than a number of hosts before.
The magazine saw that the world looks at migrant workers in Qatar through a distorted lens, stressing that Qatar is more open to foreign labor than America or any European country.
It added that the opportunity to host the World Cup improved Qatar’s labor laws, while China’s hosting of the Olympic Games twice did not make it more democratic.
It also brought back memories of the Argentine military junta that hosted the 1978 World Cup throwing critics out of helicopters.
It continued: “The Western criticism of the decision to award the hosting of the Games to Qatar reflects a blind prejudice, as it seems that many disaffected critics simply do not like Muslims or the rich.”
The newspaper concluded by saying: “The Middle East is full of football lovers, but it has not hosted the event before, nor any Muslim country, and the decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar was a very good choice.”
"Qatar may not be a democracy, but it is not the despicable despotate of cartoonish editorials...Unless FIFA wants the tournament to rotate among Finland, Norway and Sweden, it cannot always hold it in a blameless spot" https://t.co/NYaakKLspD
In turn, The Times of London said in its editorial on November 21, 2022, that “the time has come to stop demonizing the host country for the World Cup matches (Qatar), and focus on the beautiful game.”
The newspaper considered that “Qatar’s prohibition of same-sex relations, as well as sexual relations outside the institution of marriage, is an affront to Western values, although trials of people for violating laws are rare.”
“However, there are many countries that have the same laws, without being a reason to prevent them from organizing international sports matches (including England, which organized the 1966 World Cup finals),” it added.
The newspaper explained that Qatar is not far from the world, nor is its record of human rights violations that have been fabricated, and it is certainly a more open country than Russia, which organized the 2018 World Cup, or China, which organized the Winter Olympics in February 2022.
The newspaper noted that “since Qatar obtained the right to organize matches 12 years ago, it has come under the eyes and ears of the world, which forced it to strengthen labor laws and their rights. However, the time to express disapproval was 12 years ago, and that moment has long since passed.”
"The #Iran team’s silent protest was powerful because of the considerable personal risk it created...In contrast, the #ENG team’s plan was intended as an act of cost-free virtue-signalling which was dropped as soon as the stakes rose above a simple fine"https://t.co/meaBaTTTlv
Perhaps the most recent action that took place in the World Cup matches in Qatar so far was what the German national team did before the start of its match with the Japanese national team on November 23, 2022.
Germany’s players protested against being banned from wearing the gay support badge by placing their hands over their mouths in reference to the repression of freedom of expression.
It is noteworthy that the leaders of 7 European teams had decided to wear the armbands as part of a campaign to reject discrimination during the World Cup matches in Qatar.
However, with the start of the tournament, the teams of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland announced in a statement that they had changed their decision.
Players in all teams were prevented from wearing that armband, after the International Football Association Board (FIFA) imposed sanctions on players who would wear the “OneLove” armband in support of homosexuality in the Qatar World Cup, threatening to punish those who wear it with a yellow card at the start of the match.
Tweeters described the German national team’s clip as offensive and inappropriate, and that the decision to ban the badge was a lesson to stop abhorrent Western arrogance.
Commentators called on FIFA to take action against the German national team, stressing that this is an area for playing football and not for passing a political, partisan, or factional agenda.
In turn, the German Football Association issued a statement, saying that what its players did is “not a political position,” adding that human rights are not negotiable, and banning the armband is comparable to banning their right to expression.
It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us.
A tweet commented on what the German minister did, saying: “Great, as you’re the German Minister of Interior. You just sent a simple message saying: visitors don’t have to respect the German internal rules while visiting Germany!”
While another tweet indicated that the job of the minister of the interior in Germany is to abide by the law and to make sure that everyone in it or coming to it respects and adheres to it, adding that “being diplomatic and disrespecting or breaking the law of the host country is just a shameful act and just a show.”
Your job back home is to uphold the law and ensure every one in or coming to Germany respect it and abide by it.. being a diplomat and not respecting or breaking the law of a host country is just a shameful act & a mere showoff/stunt for hypocrite propaganda!
Others claimed that Germany had let politics get to its head, while one fan insisted that Germany needed to respect Qatar’s culture, and wrote on Twitter: “You Germans deserve this for your stupid virtue signaling, respect Qatar’s culture and keep your stupid politics out of football.”
Germany 1-2 Japan
You Germans deserve this for your stupid virtue signalling, respect Qatar’s culture and keep your stupid politics out of football pic.twitter.com/2Jcr1ZPhgA
In turn, a blogger named Saad Alkhrousi recalled the case of German player Mesut Ozil, who was banned from playing with his country’s national team after he spoke about the issue of the genocide of Muslims in China, adding that “today, the same federation and the national team come to give us a lesson in law.”
When Mesut Ozil spoke about the issue of the genocide of Muslims in China, the German Federation at that time boycotted the player and prevented him from playing with the national team. Today,the same union and team come out to give us a law lesson ��What kind of prospect is this pic.twitter.com/KJp7HwdMxA