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The World Cup has never been beautiful Qatar has snuffed out its surviving virtues

Qatar is not unique (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Qatar is not unique (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


November 11, 2022   7 mins

James Maddison in. Ben White and Marcus Rashford restored. Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker risked despite injury. As the England squad was announced yesterday, the familiar excitement began to kindle. Even if the reported viewing figure for the 2018 final of 3.572 billion appears to have been exaggerated, the World Cup is one of the few truly global events. The opening game is Qatar against Ecuador, and their group is completed by Senegal and the Netherlands: it’s hard to imagine many other spheres in which four such disparate countries compete on such a stage.

And yet, it’s impossible not to approach Qatar with a sense of unease. This is the first World Cup since 1934 to be hosted by a nation that has not previously played in it; why is Qatar so keen to be involved that it has spent an estimated $220 billion on staging the event?

The answer is timeless: hosting the World Cup has always been a political act. When Uruguay staged the first tournament in 1930, Juan Campisteguy’s government underwrote the costs of travelling teams because it believed the tournament would promote the country’s centenary of independence. The gamble paid off; Uruguay went on to beat Argentina 4-2 in the final.

This was nothing compared to what happened in Italy four years later. Mussolini was well-aware of the propagandistic potential of sport, often being photographed riding a horse or skiing. In 1933, when he met Engelbert Dollfuss at the beach resort of Riccione, he donned a pair of swimming trunks while the diminutive Austrian Chancellor wore a sober suit. “When you compete abroad,” Mussolini told Italian athletes, “the honour and sporting principle of the nation is entrusted to your muscles and above all your spirit.”

No doubt the Antwerp Olympics of 1920 were at the back of his mind, when the Italian athletes who turned up were a dishevelled bunch who sang the “Red Flag”. Twelve years later, they arrived in Los Angeles dressed in matching black shirts and singing “Giovinezza”, the hymn of the Italian Fascist Party. They went on to finish second in the medals table. Victories abroad, as Il Littorale noted as early as 1928, “were clear signs of racial superiority that are destined to reflect in many fields outside of sport”.

Whether Italy’s football coach throughout the Thirties, Vittorio Pozzo, was a Fascist remains contested, but he certainly benefited from the regime’s focus on muscular leadership. “The norms that govern the game,” he said, “impose the principles of authority, without which order cannot exist.” His side at the 1934 World Cup was brisk and physical and found referees benevolent. As the journalist Gianni Brera observed in his great history of Italian football, Louis Baert, the Belgian who oversaw the quarter-final against Spain, “behaved as if he were well-aware where the game was taking place”, while there were numerous rumours about meetings between Mussolini and the Swedish referee Ivan Eklind, who unusually refereed both Italy’s semi-final and the final.

Not that anybody in Italy much cared about the controversies, as Simon Martin’s Football and Fascism makes clear. In La Gazzetta della Sport, Bruno Roghi wrote of the national team as “little, gallant soldiers who fight for an idea that is greater than them”, while the Florentine Fascist weekly Il Bargello described the World Cup win as “the affirmation of an entire people, an indication of its virile and moral strength”.

It wasn’t, though, just about winning the World Cup. It was also about projecting the idea of Italy as a modern nation. There had been heavy investment in stadiums for a decade before the tournament. Fans from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland were subsidised to come to Italy. Tickets were printed on high-quality paper to encourage visitors to keep them, and the Fascist insignia they bore, as souvenirs. The Futurist artist Filippo Marinetti was commissioned to design a poster that focused on a powerful, thrusting figure in Italian kit and bore the fasces in one corner. Stamps produced for the tournament pursued a similar theme.

Foreign journalists were impressed, to the delight of the Italian media. “The spontaneous and heartfelt statements of our foreign colleagues,” Roghi wrote in La Gazzetta, “are more than sufficient to show Mussolini’s Italy — that was once little Italy of all improvisations and apologies — has organised the festival of football with the style, flexibility, precision, even the courtesy and meticulousness that indicated an absolute maturity and preparedness.” His response was extreme but not uncommon. It was a similar eagerness to show off the Estado Novo that led the GetĂșlio Vargas regime to bid for Brazil to host the 1942 World Cup — although by the time that tournament was finally played, in 1950, Vargas had been deposed.

Argentina was chosen as host for the 1978 tournament in 1966, the bid of one military junta ultimately inherited by another. This political chaos was reflected in the official logo, which was based on the arms-clasped-above-head gesture of Juan PerĂłn, who had briefly returned to power in 1973 before dying and being succeeded by his wife, Isabel, who was ousted three years later in a coup. Before the tournament was held, slums were destroyed or hidden from view, dissidents rounded up, and around a tenth of the national budget spent on constructing or redeveloping stadiums. Most important: Argentina won.

Whether, as is widely believed, the success sustained the junta in power is difficult to assess, but two details seem telling. First, about ten minutes’ walk from El Monumental, the stadium where Argentina beat the Netherlands in the final, is the ESMA (the Navy School of Mechanics) which, under the junta, became a notorious torture centre. When the prisoners, hearing the roars of the crowd, celebrated in the cells, General Jorge Acosta, one of the most brutal torturers, took out three of them in his car and wound down the windows so they could see the celebrations on the streets — to show them that their protests against the regime meant nothing beside the eruption of patriotic joy. Second, four years later, after the invasion of the Falklands, Argentinian TV broadcasts were dominated by two things: news from the war, and reruns of the glory of ‘78.

Qatar, then, is not unique. Every country to have hosted the World Cup has done so with some sort of soft-power objective in mind. Even England, in 1966, saw their triumph blend with the idea of Swinging London: to project an image of a vibrant, modern nation emerging from the gloom and stuffiness of the Fifties and the loss of influence both politically and in football (the 6-3 defeat to Hungary in 1953 was essentially football’s Suez).

But this World Cup does feel different. This is partly down to the corruption that surrounded the award of hosting rights for 2018 and 2022. There is no evidence Qatar did anything wrong, but 16 of the 22 delegates who made the decision have either been convicted or credibly accused of wrongdoing, while many have wondered what was discussed at the lunch, nine days before the vote, between Nicolas Sarkozy, the then-French president, Tamim al-Thani, who has since succeeded his father as Emir of Qatar, and the French then-Uefa president, Michel Platini.

Then there are the well-reported human rights issues, and the fact that, ever since the Gulf states bought up major football clubs and the rights to stage major fights and Formula One races, both the British media and fans are more aware than ever about “sportswashing” — the way sport can be used to present a certain picture of a nation and garner influence. The phenomenon of certain fans backing the stance of the state that owns their club against its critics — see Newcastle fans criticising the fiancĂ©e of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; or Manchester City fans insisting on the guilt of Matthew Hedges, who was accused of spying in Abu Dhabi — was familiar even before news broke that Qatar is actively paying fans from certain countries to sing on demand and help police social media.

Meanwhile, for those fans who do stay home, there is a prospect of a winter sitting huddled under blankets, struggling to afford rising energy prices (caused by a war started by the last World Cup hosts), hoping the power cut is over in time to watch the next game, beamed live from a country that is only staging the tournament because of the profits it has made from selling gas. Geopolitics has a sudden immediacy.

The Fifa president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura wrote this month to each of the 32 competing football federations, urging them not to allow “football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists”. Which is not, on the face of it, unreasonable — were it not for the fact that Qatar hosting a World Cup is itself part of a political battle, and that certain issues cannot be casually dismissed as differences of ideology. The letter speaks of the opportunity “to welcome and embrace everyone, regardless of origin, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality” — and yet homosexuality is outlawed in Qatar. An existential threat to a group of people is not “an ideological or political battle”; indeed, it runs directly contrary to Article 3 of Fifa’s own statutes, the value of which is now exposed as nil.

Finally, there is the decision not to hold the World Cup in June-July. Perhaps there is a case to be made that the European off-season should not dictate the timing of the World Cup. Why should a raft of countries be disbarred from hosting just because their climate does not fit? But this does not alter the realisation that the bidding process for 2022 was for a tournament to be staged in June and July, and that the rules were changed after Qatar had won when it was decided that maybe trying to play — or watch — football in 40-plus degrees wasn’t a great idea, even with whatever speculative cooling technology was being proposed.

Covid-related changes to the schedule also have not helped, but the rejig to the Premier League calendar necessitated by the November start means there are just seven days between the final domestic league game and the opening match of the World Cup. There should have been eight, but three months ago the start date was suddenly moved forward by a day, apparently so Qatar could play Ecuador with the eyes of the world upon them, undistracted by three other matches on the same day. The change was made just as a global advertising campaign was launched marking 100 days till the start of the World Cup and immediately rendered inaccurate — the problem perhaps of a society in which royal whim can override years of diligent planning.

To put the lack of break in context, there has never previously been fewer than 16 days between the Champions League final and the first game of the World Cup, so most players have had three-to-four weeks beforehand. This means not only a greater likelihood of fatigue and injury for players, but also a lack of preparation time for national coaches; with the usual two-to-three weeks of build-up reduced to three or four days, how can they work on anything but the most basic planning?

There will be those who question how much this all matters. Football, after all, is only a game. It is just 22 players chasing around an inflated polyurethane sphere. Compared to persecuted minorities and workers toiling in abject conditions, who cares about the football? But the World Cup does matter. It matters to those who play it and those who watch it and those who believe, along with Jules Rimet, that, despite it all, the tournament can be an event that fosters understanding between peoples. And yet, once again, perhaps more than ever, the World Cup finds itself a tool of propaganda, with all that is good about it sublimated to the needs of an authoritarian state. At its heart, the World Cup is an idealistic phenomenon, and those ideals have rarely felt so threatened.


Jonathan Wilson is a columnist for the Guardian, the editor of the Blizzard, the co-host of the podcast It Was What It Was and author of 12 books on football history and one novel.

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Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Won’t be watching (and like many have watched every world cup from ’74 onwards) – because, can’t stand the awful Quatary civilization (if even Quatar can be called civilized), don’t want to watch them knee bending f’bllers, can’t bear to listen to Gary Neville.
But most of all, because, can’t stand that Gary Linekar.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Russia. Qatar. I’m looking forward to the next in 2026 in North Korea.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Followed of course by Afghanistan in 2030.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

I hope that is not true. If it is it is confirmation of my decision not to watch proffesional football after watching it all my life.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

I donÂŽt think North Korea can afford the bribes. It would bite into their rocket budget.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I would say snap to your comments. The world cup was good to watch in the past but has now become too political. I cannot stand Neville causing the team to take the knee the purpose of which I thoroughly disagree with, but these sort of people like to force it on others. I have gone over to Rugby with the six nations and the World Cup coming. Far less political.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Good comment, but would you mind quarantining “take the knee” inside quote marks, where this ridiculous phrase belongs.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

You should try darts

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I’ll be watching, and, so will you. That’s because it is the beautiful game.

FIFA has always been exhibit one on what a large global government would look like. When you juxtapose that with team sport at the highest level you have the perfect reflection of what humans working together should look like and what governments working together always looks like.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Anyone who has watched a Gareth Southgate England Team would know that it takes more than a kick-off to produce a ‘beautiful game’. I will only watch when I need sleep and don’t want a sleeping pill.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

And yet, England looked the best they ever have.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Absolutely – and item one on the agenda for ‘global’ global sport will be to set up a cloning facility for Sepp Blatters. I don’t see why the Swiss should be the only ones to get one, the whole world deserves their own copy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
jim benson
jim benson
1 year ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

The beautiful slogan.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Prashant won’t be watching, and neither will I.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Qatar is genuinely the armpit of the world. Utterly vile nation.

But the main reason why many English would switch off, I suspect, is because our craven manager would simply refuse to use the fantastic attacking talent England have.
Watching a world cup in a horrible country that’s too warm for a summer world cup, tough.
Watching a team with Foden, Kane, Madison, Sterling, Grealish play like cowards, as they inevitably will, is purely unbearable.

Robert Routledge
Robert Routledge
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Could not agree more truly shameful

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

“Bought and sold for Arab gold, such a parcel of rogues in a nation.”

(Apologies to RB.)

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

With hundreds of slaves worked to death to build the Qatar stadium. Not much is said about that. Taking the knee to that would be an honorable gesture.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

An interesting aspect is that not much is made of the nationality / race of those who died (mostly Indian / South Asian), which is a deep seared, paradoxical aspect of “anti racism / sexism” – it only cares about certain races and gender.

Remember, all the furore about “bigotry” in English football was about blacks in men’s football (even though vastly overrepresented in a sport where genuine racism is rare now) or women’s football, where the best teams struggle against under-15 boys.

But not a squeak about Indians / Lankans, twice as many as blacks, one tenth the crime rate, and hardly a single premiership footballer.

I am not saying they should be granted victim status too – thank God they are not – but rather a searing indictment of the hypocrisy and sliminess of the “rights” brigade.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Can someone please explain why England and Wales are separate teams and there is not just one team from the UK? Only the UK is recognised as a country in its own right, so why does the UK get 4 shots at getting to the World Cup whereas every other country only gets one? The only other thing to say is the teams could have boycotted the competition and stayed at home. Why didn’t they?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Who gives a toss about the stupid “knee-taking” morons?

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Craven
David Salmon
David Salmon
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Where in the article does it mention that?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Quite a well-researched piece, with historical perpective and colourful detail of which i suspect many interested football fans would’ve been unaware. I wasn’t yet into my teens when England triumphed in 1966, and yet it seemed like the elevation of a national resurgence the author describes, with Her Majesty handing over the Jules Rimet trophy to the young, seemingly golden-haired Bobby Moore on a glorious sunny afternoon in late July. I watched on a tv with a 9-inch screen.

All of which leads to the trick the author missed. In referring to the Argentines being awarded the 1978 tournament in 1966, he omits to mention the way in which that country’s team had utterly disgraced itself in their quarter-final defeat to England at Wembley. They spent the game hacking at our players, trying to physically intimidate the referee and when their captain Rattin was finally sent off, he refused to leave the field for several minutes. So much for their sporting attitude gaining them the hosting rights. The author does make up for that omission though, with his piquant detail about the tortured dissidents celebrating their teams’ victory 12 years later.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

We had our revenge for that Argentinian insolence in 1982.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

True, but Maradona wrested it their way again four years later, and again with the help of the referee. On that occasion our subs didn’t help…

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Don’t forget that you only beat Portugal (a dictatorship at the time) because you cheated! The players were moved to another location without warning and couldn’t sleep because of all the noise. On the other hand, Portugal beat Brazil after one of our players took PelĂ© out of the game (at the time you couldn’t do substitutions). Fair play at its best.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

Ah, I thought it was Hungary, but now I remember it was a brilliant volley that was from the Hungary game. Not Pele being hacked

Last edited 1 year ago by Bill Bailey
Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

Jorge, thanks for your honesty regarding Pele (I am Brazilian and remember the event very well). The 1966 World Cup was engraved on people’s mind as a horrendous show of “fairplay” by the supposedly fair English, with unbelievably partial referees and all stops removed in order to ensure the success of the “Home Team”. What makes it so embarrassing is that the English teams never again reached much beyond the groups phase (with the notable exception of 2018) and England is nowhere near deserving the respect awarded the other European football powerhouses like Germany, Italy (unexplainably out this time…) and more recently Spain and France. If one remembers the shameless home-cooking of 1966, it makes sense that it is so. Acknowledging what went on in 1966 would go a long way in fixing the “chronical loser” popular image of England in international football.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andre Lower
Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I went to see Argentina vs Scotland in 1978 in Glasgow.
The Argentine team was full value for winning it all in 1978. Even if individuals should have been red carded off.
Why wernt they? Because of narrative. FIFA is a big government and they love their narrative. Which is why I hate narrative. And everyone who believes in justice should hate narrative also.

I dont want to devolve into a, did the ref see the hand of god discussion.

What Im saying is that control structures see what they expect to see.

And:
“The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them behold”
So dont “go to Qatar”. Go see how Qataris see just a little bit. And expect that the beautiful game touches them also.
(I might be mixing up my world cups, but the idea still stands and Glasgow in 1978 I’m not mixing up)

Last edited 1 year ago by Bret Larson
Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

What???

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

I share your perplexity. No idea what he’s on about.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Anyone who watched the Argentines play the Dutch in that final would have known it was a fix from quite early on.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bill Bailey
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

The rank and cowardly hypocrisy of the sports media is breathtaking! Absolutely no mention anywhere of Quatari’s massive investment in racing, and any criticism thereof, as the meeja have their snouts in the trough of a variety of ” freemans”, and again in F1 where Arab investment in McLaren is conveniently ignored when the likes of Hamilton whine on about rights in Arab countries…..

David Salmon
David Salmon
1 year ago

The author mentions it in the article.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago

In 1966, England and Germany made it to the final. The referee for the semi-final match West Germany won was English, and for the one England won was from West Germany. Brazil’s best player, PelĂ©, was kicked so much in the first game against Bulgaria that he could play no part in the second. The Italian newspaper Il Messaggero wrote an article headlined “Scandal in London – too much favouritism for the England team”.
It was a hard time for the British. In six years, the UK had lost most of its African colonies. UK relative labour productivity compared to France and West Germany was dwindling away. The sterling devalued 14% in 1967. So, the World Cup did little to boost the reputation or the economy of the UK.
Since the 1978 World Cup outrageously hosted and won by an authoritarian Argentina, the list of FIFA corruption allegations is long. In 2015, Seven FIFA officials are arrested in dawn raids at a hotel in Zurich. However, the raids did not change any decision. The following World Cups are hosted by two countries with remarkable political and human rights deficits: Russia and Qatar.
Considering how uncivilised football players usually are, I’d rather watch tennis.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Likewise but I didn’t know how to see the US Open on Virgin and was reluctant to pay more for it. I wasn’t worried about it as I disagreed with the vaccine rule which Jokavitch wisely declined.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago

It was us. Not the Hungarians. Nice hit job.
https://veja.abril.com.br/videos/arquivo/copa-de-66-pele-e-cacado-por-portugueses/
The link is a prestigious Brazilian Magazine (VEJA).

Last edited 1 year ago by Jorge Espinha
Neil Adshead
Neil Adshead
1 year ago

The current energy crisis in Europe is not an issue that arose overnight due to Russia’s futile invasion of Ukraine, but it did accelerate the recognition of populist energy policy errors that were introduced years ago and have quietly accumulated. We all want cleaner energy, but the mad dash for ‘Net Zero’ is folly, whatever your view on the scope of anthropogenic climate change, and every energy system also needs to balance affordability and security with environmental considerations. Net Zero is entirely focused on clean 
 Russia’s invasion rapidly reminded Europeans citizens that their politicians had ignored energy affordability and security aspects in their blinkered desire to be popular.

Last edited 1 year ago by Neil Adshead
Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago

Ah yes, a Guardian and sports illustrated writer, moaning about how governments work and taking their ball and going home.
Heres a news flash, all actions are political actions, to paraphrase somebody.
As far as Im concerned, at least they havent been caught taking videos of “stressed government services” while they ride the train(yet).

And yes, governments interaction is ugly. Especially when you compare it to teams of people working together to achieve a hard goal that is the game of soccer.
When I view such a thing, it just makes me think government should be smaller.

Rufus Firefly
Rufus Firefly
1 year ago

I can only assume that ISIS is preparing to field a football team next season.

Glenda Pogorelsky
Glenda Pogorelsky
1 year ago
Reply to  Rufus Firefly

Well, Qatar funds Hamas, another delightful terror group. Not only dedicated to obliterating Israel but all Jews, everywhere. Hamas treats women there absolutely abominably, with mass weddings of 9 year old girls to their much older “soldiers”, has killed scores of people for playing music at weddings, cuts of the hands of 8 year old very poor children for stealing bread, summarily executes innocent people arbitrarily accused of spying, by dragging them in the streets at the back of trucks. For this they get 25 million dollars every month from Qatar to keep Hamas in power.Not only that, but reports from Qatar in the last few days has revealed how shockingly they’re behaving to the visitors there now. Boycott this event!!!

Last edited 1 year ago by Glenda Pogorelsky
Greg Morrison
Greg Morrison
1 year ago

It’s a silly game anyway. If nations or men want to prove their ‘manliness’ via sporting competition then they should play rugby or box: these are both also silly, but they involve physical contact and strength, and participants must learn and prove the lesson of courage.
Let the Fascists, Communists and Islamist beheaders of homosexuals play football. Those of us in the Home Nations who love rugby think it perfectly apt that these disparate but equally pathetic ideologies compete to play a game which requires no physical courage and not even the remotest hint of combat.
They might as well play netball.

Last edited 1 year ago by Greg Morrison
William Jackson
William Jackson
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Excellent comment, with one small exception, pitty to deride net ball, surly soft ball or hopscotch would be more apt games to compare to football. By the by, I understand that football is an excellent game when played by teams of females, again I believe that the England team even tend to win

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
1 year ago

Wow, let us all gaze in wonder at the sheer manliness of these comments.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

It used to said, as you may recall, that Football was Gentlemen’s game played by Yobs, whilst Rugby was a Yob’s game played by Gentlemen.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Etonians would disagree!!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

I always find it so funny that ‘ comedians’ and leftie politicians make jokes about ‘posh’ Etonians, and how they wouldn’t know about soccer… Cameron was one target…. being to stupid to know that Eton was a soccer school, that only played rugby relatively recently!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Charterhouse as well!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

They won the FA cup,TWICE, in 1879 & 1882.
‘Floreat Etona!

David Sharples
David Sharples
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

American football…. Rugby / Chess.

Tim Lever
Tim Lever
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

French Rugy Union’s collaboration with the Nazis to outlaw and close down French Rugby League notwithstanding

Greg Moreison
Greg Moreison
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim Lever

Pretty sure that was Vichy France not the Nazis: Vichy were the collaborators, not the French Rugby Union; it was Petain’s decision. But at any rate I feel that the fact of the quasi-fascist collaborators intentionally closing down one of the rugby codes actually supports my point.

Tim Lever
Tim Lever
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Moreison

Not sure how it supports your point, and whichever fascists closed down Rugby League, they felt Rugby Union was alright and left it alone.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Lots of posh kids touching each other up in the scrum, poking thumbs up bums and the like? No thanks

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Greg, I don’t think your comment could be more nonsensical… You are free not to like football, but need to wake up to the reality that it is the most popular and appreciated sport in the world that you live in. Along with North-Americans that refuse to call the game by its name (“soccer” exists only in their parlance, and refusing to call football by its name does nothing to make American football any more popular outside of North America anyways…), you could perhaps allow yourself to try your own “manhood” in a football field against some of the “fascists, communists, Islamist beheaders of homosexuals” or whatever else you want to portray as unworthy of your sportive respect. I guarantee you it is going to change your perception is a flash! And now if you excuse me, I have some football to watch…

Last edited 1 year ago by Andre Lower
Jim Cuthill
Jim Cuthill
1 year ago

Yawn.
Soccer (football to the rest of the world), is something that North Americans just haven’t embraced the way the rest of the world has. We have a hard time understanding the fuss. The only story here is the FIFA corruption.
It’s Hockey season, nobody cares about soccer.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Cuthill

Au contraire Jim, nobody cares about hockey

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Cuthill

You yanks only enjoy sports the rest of the world doesn’t play so you can win in them, with baseballs (which is just big girls rounders) “World Series” being a prime example.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Named after the newspaper the “New York World” that sponsored the first competition.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  nigel roberts

Yeah I know, my mates a septic and he told me that. Still sounds pretentious though

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago

In the interests of accuracy. Russia didn’t start the war you mention. It started in 2014 when the US gave a green light to yet another colour revolution. It hasn’t stopped since, though as no one in the west cared about the secessionist areas we only heard about it when a Dutch airliner was shot down. Russia simply joined in earlier this year.

Andrea Rudenko
Andrea Rudenko
1 year ago

Actually, the World Cup was beautiful in 1990; in fact, it was a work of art. Never mind the football scores, the whole world was mesmerized watching bodies and footballs floating through the air in slow motion to the strains of Italian opera. Everywhere one went, whether the supermarket or the petrol station, the sounds of Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma filled the air, and everyone sang along. People who never liked opera were singing opera, and people who never cared for football were glued to the tube. The grand finale of the 1990 World Cup was a magnificent concert by a trio of tenors who had been the opera world’s biggest rivals, and now they sang together. It was such a success that they continued to sing together for a number of years. Yes, I would say the 1990 World Cup was beautiful.

I do understand the unease about holding it in Qatar.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrea Rudenko
Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrea Rudenko

If we’re going full-on nostalgia, don’t forget Gazza’s tears, penalty shootouts, and Bobby Robson, arguably the best of the many England managers to never to win the World Cup.

Bob Smalser
Bob Smalser
1 year ago

Soccer. Faking injuries as a culture is dishonest, unmanly, and not behavior to be tolerated, let alone encouraged. Rub dirt on it and walk it off, kid.

Bob Smalser
Bob Smalser
1 year ago

Soccer. Faking injuries as a culture is dishonest, unmanly, and not behavior to be tolerated, let alone encouraged. Rub dirt on it and walk it off, kid.

Greg Moreison
Greg Moreison
1 year ago

* * apologies, deleted this comment, duplicate comment as comment above was delayed in appearing * *

Last edited 1 year ago by Greg Moreison
Adrian Doble
Adrian Doble
1 year ago

Oh dear. There’s pessimism and there’s depression. What about thise who don’t give a monkey’s about politics and just love football? Oh man.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Doble

My feelings exactly!

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

“This is the first World Cup since 1934 to be hosted by a nation that has not previously played in it …” This sentence understates the polemic surrounding Qatar being host. In 1934 there had only been one previous World Cup. There were probably few countries interested in holding it. Unlike Qatar and 2022.
Football has on occasions been used by fascism. Another interesting question is why socialism produces so few great teams, when socialist propaganda suggests that socialism is the way for a collective, i.e. a team, to realise its greatest potential. Hungary in 1954, Poland in 1974 and Czechoslovakia in 1976 are the most notable exceptions. In all three cases, though, successful football teams were the forerunner of political rebellion against socialist tyranny.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

“This is the first World Cup since 1934 to be hosted by a nation that has not previously played in it …” This sentence understates the polemic surrounding Qatar being host. In 1934 there had only been one previous World Cup. There were probably few countries interested in holding it. Unlike Qatar and 2022.
Football has on occasions been used by fascism. Another interesting question is why socialism produces so few great teams, when socialist propaganda suggests that socialism is the way for a collective, i.e. a team, to realise its greatest potential. Hungary in 1954, Poland in 1974 and Czechoslovakia in 1976 are the most notable exceptions. In all three cases, though, successful football teams were the forerunner of political rebellion against socialist tyranny.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

I’ve been to Doha many times. The Arabs contract out to sub continent gangmasters who exploit their own people. The Arabs are kind otherwise. As for LGB all sorts goes on in the ME, they’re just discreet about it. The shame will come with the western football louts who may discover what real policing is all about.. We’ll be the ones who look bad. A stupid decision in a foolish location. It’ll end in tears.

Last edited 1 year ago by James Kirk
James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

I’ve been to Doha many times. The Arabs contract out to sub continent gangmasters who exploit their own people. The Arabs are kind otherwise. As for LGB all sorts goes on in the ME, they’re just discreet about it. The shame will come with the western football louts who may discover what real policing is all about.. We’ll be the ones who look bad. A stupid decision in a foolish location. It’ll end in tears.

Last edited 1 year ago by James Kirk
Kevin Furman
Kevin Furman
1 year ago

I will watch a few games in this upcoming World Cup. I have to watch Canada, because that is the country I live in. Only other time they qualified was waaaaaaay back in ’86 and I was just in grade school. I had no idea what a World Cup was. I have been a fan of my national team for about 25 years even if has caused a lot of disappointments.
I still feel an unease watching the games because I knew when FIFA announced back in 2010 when Qatar would host the World Cup, I knew it was a sham. Russia is vile enough for politics when they hosted in 2018. They did have a more established domestic league, most stadiums were in place or slight upgrades to be made, and they could organize the event more.
Only a week away this World Cup is a bigger fire dumpster than I anticipated. Qatar is not prepared for this World Cup. It should have been relocated once the reports back in 2011 of migrant workers in high numbers were dying due to the development of these stadiums. FIFA let it slide and I thought maybe they could relocate to a new location by 2016. There would be countries who could set up a World Cup in that time. FIFA probably had to source back the money to Qatari officials, which would nearly kill the Zurich based organization.
FIFA tries to do the honorable thing to say racism must end. Which is appreciative enough but fails to include those migrant workers. They may not look like me, but they were human beings. They had families, dreams, and were hoping to make a decent wage to support their life going forward. FIFA has no one to push blame aside but themselves. Blatter was corrupt and new president Infantino is maybe more crooked. Case in example about pushing a World Cup every second year. Don’t get me started on that rubbish.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Furman

Kevin, I also live in Canada and the Canuck squad naturally has my sympathy. Yet having to face Luca Modric’s Croatia and Lukaku’s Belgium right at the start is a ridiculously tall order for a team with lots of enthusiasm but not much international experience. I just hope they don’t get discouraged by whatever the net results in their Qatar campaign are, since Canadian kids are physically strong, play fair and have obvious technical skill showcased in other sports. With some perseverance, we should eventually start to see some good football coming out from North America.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Furman

Kevin, I also live in Canada and the Canuck squad naturally has my sympathy. Yet having to face Luca Modric’s Croatia and Lukaku’s Belgium right at the start is a ridiculously tall order for a team with lots of enthusiasm but not much international experience. I just hope they don’t get discouraged by whatever the net results in their Qatar campaign are, since Canadian kids are physically strong, play fair and have obvious technical skill showcased in other sports. With some perseverance, we should eventually start to see some good football coming out from North America.

Kevin Furman
Kevin Furman
1 year ago

I will watch a few games in this upcoming World Cup. I have to watch Canada, because that is the country I live in. Only other time they qualified was waaaaaaay back in ’86 and I was just in grade school. I had no idea what a World Cup was. I have been a fan of my national team for about 25 years even if has caused a lot of disappointments.
I still feel an unease watching the games because I knew when FIFA announced back in 2010 when Qatar would host the World Cup, I knew it was a sham. Russia is vile enough for politics when they hosted in 2018. They did have a more established domestic league, most stadiums were in place or slight upgrades to be made, and they could organize the event more.
Only a week away this World Cup is a bigger fire dumpster than I anticipated. Qatar is not prepared for this World Cup. It should have been relocated once the reports back in 2011 of migrant workers in high numbers were dying due to the development of these stadiums. FIFA let it slide and I thought maybe they could relocate to a new location by 2016. There would be countries who could set up a World Cup in that time. FIFA probably had to source back the money to Qatari officials, which would nearly kill the Zurich based organization.
FIFA tries to do the honorable thing to say racism must end. Which is appreciative enough but fails to include those migrant workers. They may not look like me, but they were human beings. They had families, dreams, and were hoping to make a decent wage to support their life going forward. FIFA has no one to push blame aside but themselves. Blatter was corrupt and new president Infantino is maybe more crooked. Case in example about pushing a World Cup every second year. Don’t get me started on that rubbish.

David
David
1 year ago

Humiliating England’s finest with these virtue signalling political gestures is wokeism gone mad: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/jun/11/nazi-germany-played-england-tottenham-white-hart-lane

Last edited 1 year ago by David
David
David
1 year ago

Humiliating England’s finest with these virtue signalling political gestures is wokeism gone mad: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/jun/11/nazi-germany-played-england-tottenham-white-hart-lane

Last edited 1 year ago by David
Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
1 year ago

Perhaps the Qataris are not much worse than out own government. I do not think they would refuse to report foreign men who rape native Qataris. Alas, Rotherham. There is something to be said for being illiberal.

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
1 year ago

Perhaps the Qataris are not much worse than out own government. I do not think they would refuse to report foreign men who rape native Qataris. Alas, Rotherham. There is something to be said for being illiberal.