Would you boycott the World cup like Norway and Odegaard are discussing?

Would You Boycott The World Cup? by Dan

Last night Norway took a stance that I hope the rest of Football follows. With one of the world’s best strikers (and Martin Odegaard!), they now have a profile where them wearing a T shirt expressing their ‘concerns’ over Qatar’s human rights record will get the attention of FIFA.

With qualification for the 2022 World Cup starting this week, many big names of various countries are being asked the same questions.

“I have the impression that a lot of (players) are interested in this, care about it and want to do something to try and contribute in a good way,” Odegaard said in Football.London.

Where Football could once separate sport from politics, they have got too involved and can’t now hide just because a World Cup makes lots of money.

At a time when Football in Europe insist on promoting equality and diversity, what do they intend to do to confront Qatar’s poor human rights record?

Several nations are even discussing at parliament level if their football teams should be boycotting the next World Cup due to certain findings by various studies. One such report shows that in the decade since they were announced as hosts, 6,500 migrants died due to unsafe working environments. Bear in mind that’s only based on migrants from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

It’s taken to last August for laws to change. Workers are no longer required to hand over their passports, there has been a 25 percent rise in pay to 275 a month and an employee no longer requires permission from their employer to change jobs.

The fact that in 2020 that was seen as progress is scary.

Holland’s stance are that their government and King will not travel to the competition although the KNVB have dismissed talk of any boycott (if they qualify) believing they can spread more awareness by participating. Other countries though are not ruling out refusing to participate.

In Germany, politicians have formed a group called the Pro Fans Alliance campaigning for the topic to at least be debated.

A petition is underway in Denmark where 50,000 signatures will force a discussion to be had in parliament.

To their credit Norway haven’t ruled out a boycott (if they qualify) and in protest wore shirts before the Gibraltar match. That’s how you invoke change.

In a couple of years, Haaland could be one of the poster boys of the tournament. Him refusing to participate would cost the World Cup sponsorship, which would mean FIFA loses money. Unfortunately, that’s the only way you make serious companies change when they lose money.

The image of Haaland wearing a shirt with the message, ‘Respect on and off the pitch’ will be shown around the world and will promote discussion.

Holland’s captain got angry this week when a journalist suggested there was some contradiction.
Here was a player who takes the knee every week to promote the fight for everyone to be treated equal yet will help a country make a lot of money off a competition which his own country are admitting having concerns over abuse of employment laws and other morals.

The journalist was right to point out the contradiction.

We live in an era where the world is rightfully encouraged to call out anytime they see or hear a person being mistreated.

In the last year alone we have seen protests towards police behaviour, how women are treated, lockdown measures, is there racism in the British Monarchy, can we call Potato Head a Mr, etc.

Go on YouTube and will find various opinions about a range of topics. It’s healthy to encourage conversation.

Yet we can’t on one hand say it’s okay to argue about everything in the world but then watch a World Cup and brush under the carpet issues of a lack of equality towards poverty, domestic issues, mistreatment of minorities, etc.

Football can’t have it both ways. The Sport either takes part in politics or doesn’t. Now that it has it can’t back down.

Arsenal for example supported taking the knee but then distanced themselves from comments of Ozil expressing concerns over how Muslims were being treated in China. Those actions suggest that Arsenal are saying one issue is bigger than the other. This is where it becomes a sticky issue.
How can governing bodies protest against Qatar when they didn’t object to South Africa, Russia and Brazil hosting the same tournament?

How does Football decide what they politically object too?

Ironically, the most vocal have their own policies that their peers might be against. Germany is experiencing a rise in Islamophobic hate crime, Norway has been accused of discrimination towards immigrants, while Denmark are the first in Europe to deport refugees back to a war zone.

Who decides who’s right and wrong?

This is why many suggest that sport should not get involved in politics, because when you’re dealing with a worldwide fan base how do you decide which cultures you agree with or not.

The FA, the Premier League, Sky Sports, BT, etc, for example want to be seen to fighting against racism, growing the women’s game and being against all forms of discrimination.

If those groups did have zero tolerance, they would encourage England not to travel to Qatar.

Football is not the only Sport that the Middle East is willing to pay huge sums of money to have access to in a bid to showcase a better image.

Saudi Arabia for example might pay millions to host the Joshua v Fury fight as a device to show the reforms they are undertaking.

I would love the Three Lions to have the gumption to do what Norway did. Senior players in the England squad have agreed on the importance of carrying on taking the knee. Will they carry on that ritual at the World Cup?

Will FIFA ask players to stand behind a sign, ticking their box of this being the equal game?

While it’s noble for players to promote diversity and equality, is it not wrong to ignore other issues just because your football federation happens to make money?

I have long stressed that wouldn’t it be great if a Messi and Ronaldo refused to go to Qatar?Imagine the buzz that would create.

For everything they have done in the game it would be a perfect way to leave their legacies.
Every generation there is a sports person brave enough to take a stand.

I say brave because this will be the first Arab/Muslim country to host the World Cup which would be symbolic for the region. Western Countries not showing up would turn a football event into a political row.

Will someone make a stand before the next World Cup? Unfortunately, the answer is probably no.

For the people who died building those stadiums, for those not treated equally, and for those not allowed to choose how to live their lives…. Let’s not insult them.

If you’re a federation/player/company, etc who profits out of the next World Cup, at least have the decency to not months later wear rainbow laces while taking the knee, while Sky Sports asks viewers to report any discrimination.

If Norway go to the World Cup their words are empty but last night is a start.

FIFA like to portray the World Cup as a magical event run flawlessly.

So qualification beginning with a protest will upset sponsors and the image the QFA are trying to enforce.

That’s a start ….

Be kind in the comments


Tags Norway Qatar World Cup



    1. out of curiosity sir, would you boycott a world cup hosted by the USA? just trying to understand what “corrupt country reason” you are referring to. Not sure if there’s a country on THIS planet anyway that isn’t corrupt

      1. SK thank you for enquiring, as your question gives me an excuse to bore some people on here, though I doubt that will include you. I have long written and maintained -in fact for several decades of my 70 year old life – that almost ALL of us are hypocrites.

        By corrupt country, I REFER TO THOSE WHO GOVERN and not the whole populace, most of whom are basically good people, no matter from which country they come.

        I am a socially aware, socially active and politically minded person and care about a great number of issues, most of which are far more important in life then merely football and our own team.
        As an example of this mass hypocrisy we are all Gooners and support a club sponsored by a corrupt Rwandan government, which sticks in my craw, BUT not enough to make me shun Arsenal. THAT makes ME a hypocrite, believing as I do that we should NOT be accepting money from a corruptly governed country.

        We will all have our own examples of our personal hypocrisy, though most will not accept that almost all humans are hypocrites; despite it being a normal, though not desirable part of our shared human condition. I have written a great deal on this subject and given public lectures too.
        My hypocrisy is not so overpowering that I will follow international football when played IN disgustingly corrupt countries such as Russia and Qatar. The honest reason for this is that I do not love and enjoy England games anywhere near as much as our club games and thus it is easier for me to shun them than for Arsenal matches.

        As for USA, I have a strong distaste for the brash way that many of its citizens behave and speak. The culture is based on greedy consumerism to an unhealthy degree, far more than most other countries where consumerism is also rife, though necessary. I do believe in capitalism but in HEALTHY CAPITALISM and I am not in any way at all a socialist.

        BUT now that Trump has been defeated , USA is not corrupt in the same degree that Russia and Qatar , plus China, North Korea UAE and many other non civilised counties are.
        So I would follow the WC were it held in USA but of course that does not apply this time. Hope that gives you a taste of how SOME on here will think before writing and will gladly explain why they think the way they do.
        If by any chance you are keen to know more about this subject, please ask Ad Pat for my private email and I will be glad to discuss further and go into this subject in greater depth. Hope you have gained something from my post but as I do not know you I will be keen to see whether or not you wish to follow it up!

        1. Always good to hear your views jon but I would have to disagree with some of them.
          With certain counties, corruption is out in the open and maybe that’s why we feel so strongly against it but me, you and lot of people on here are old enough to understand that it goes on everywhere but not so blantly obverse
          Under the table stuff, old school tie contracts handed out.
          We Don’t see it so we ignore it
          Example the track and trace system contracts that we poured millions in to which went to friends of friends in the government sector.
          On a football scale I think you remember George Graham bung allegations
          He was one of many on the take but unfortunately he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar
          We now move on to agents and football owners taking back handers and bungs
          Mike asy using slave labours to churn out his goods
          The list is endless
          As for the good d USA ..with or without trump the place is rife with
          I am not saying you are right or wrong on your beliefs or opinions but it is everywhere we look
          It’s all about
          “SHOW ME THE MONEY”
          Onwards and upwards

          1. ALAN I appreciate your pertinent comments but we are speaking about very different levels of corruption I agree that all countries have a level of corruption; how could it be otherwise when populated by humans!
            But Alan, with the greatest of respect, I am talking about fiends and monsters not “merely” bungs and greedy agents, old school tie etc . all of which I agree are horrible but it is a totally different level of monstrous corruption and EVIL, not “mere”prejudice that I refer too!

            What you outline IS unfair and needs to change but is not a valid reason to shun a world cup in such as Britain, France, etc , where all of what you outline goes on but my levels of corruption are not remotely done by governments. Nothing like the same degree. SAY WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT BORIS JOHNSON but he will not come out and gas you with his troops or kidnap innocent people and lock them up never to be seen again, like China etc. I much prefer like with like comparisons Alan.

        2. Agree with everything you said except on the US. It’s naive to believe that Trump losing the election means that the US is now less corrupt. The way that news was and is reported changed to become so entirely one sided, and the way the internet was used to censor and direct opinions with “fact checks” is just incredible. There was even a story in Time about how “a powerful cabal” of people colluded to “change rules and laws” and “directed media coverage” to “fortify” the elections, but interestingly it wasn’t reported until after all was said and done.
          It all feels absolutely Orwellian and reeks of corruption

          1. “Agree with everything you said except on the US. It’s naive to believe that Trump losing the election means that the US is now less corrupt”

            Cheers for saving me the hassle Davi, such an absurd statement on Jon’s part

          2. Davi and DTM, I did say that I referred to only GOVERNMENT and also those who rule, based corruption and though I agree that much in USA government is still corrupt, even after Trump- it is not at a level of inhuman monsterism like China, North Korea and other pariah and tyrant states. There is in the USA a democracy that, til Trump came along , worked perfectly well.

            Trump is a monster but does not represent USA governments across the ages, even though he still retains many millions of moronic and non evolved supporters. I do not accept that the level of GOVERNMENT corruption in USA appoaches those of the countries I mentioned.

            Corporate USA corruption though is rife but was not my point, though it does matter immensely. FACEBOOK AMAZON, ETC ARE CORPORATE “THIEVES” AND WITHOUT MORALS.


          3. Jon – fair enough, I’m happy to agree to disagree on that.
            As mentioned, I completely agree on everything else you said on consumerism, capitalism and our inherent hypocrisy. Thought that was interesting and well put.

  2. There is no way on earth that the world cup should be held in quatar. It was a stupid corrupt decision in the first place and anyone in their right mind will not only not go but not watch it either. International football has sold its soul. England shouldn’t be going either.

  3. Every individual, group, organisation
    and country is selective in our view on issues. Like our comments about football its easy to criticize and just as easy to find such critiques riddled with inconsistency. I remember the 1976 Boycott of the Olympics by 28 African Nations against Apartheid in South African despite terrible atrocities being committed in all those African Nations by the Black Regimes. The US led Boycott of the 1980 Olympics over Russias invasion of Afghanistan has become one of the great hypocritical reversals as for decades now the USA has been at war in Afghanistan and lauding their troops. Green peace protesting about whaling but ignoring the slaughter of billions of other fish species and billions of sheep + cattle is ridiculously selective. Individuals expressing concern over issues is wholly commendable but expecting whole organizations even countries to follow suit when there are blatent inconsistencies is fraught with danger and should be used as a last resort. Professional footballers are quite happy to accept huge salaries often generated by businesses with questionable human rights and environmental practices .Why do the same professional footballers not demand an equality pay scale for every single footballer in the world by demanding their own salaries are reduced by 99%. And there is total silence.

    1. A thoughtful and extremely interesting post Wyoming from a person who plainly knows a deal about life. I suggest you may care to read my own post on corruption and hypocrisy , by scrolling up this thread. I suspect we may have much in common, from the way you write.

  4. DANS excellent and so true – sadly – article is exactly the sort of proper and intellectually worthwhile article that this site should be seeking to promote.

    To my mind it demonstrates the truth of my own long held contention that virtually all humans are hypocrites, myself very much included and that humans will – by and large- put their own and their families interest first, EVEN WHEN that works against something they believe in passionately, such as human rights, lack of prejudice, equal chances and opportunities in life for all.

    By any rational and sober analysis of how the inhumane Qatar rulers are treating its WC workers (and much else besides) we all OUGHT to be shunning this world cup and turning our backs on it. But most will choose not to do so, as personal enjoyment of the game means more to them than the basic human rights of nameless others who they will never personally know nor meet.
    Though I will be shunning THIS WC, just as I did with the one in Russia, I too am a hypocrite in countless other ways.

    Most of the everyday small hypocricies in life go almost unnoticed and are of little real consequence but when ordinary, decent, people are forced to work in extremely dangerous conditions, under terrible pressure, to “advertise” the country, Qatar, which the cruelly corrupt rulers run so vilely, decent people OUGHT to make a stand. The fact that most of us will not, makes us hypocrites.

    This is not the way we SHOULD behave. IS IT!

  5. Aaah, this is complicated isn’t it? There is so much that is terrible in this world that trying to fight it all would leave us burnt out, and navigating the best path is fraught with dangers. Do I buy this veg which is organic but comes wrapped in plastic, or that veg which is grown using chemicals but isn’t wrapped in plastic? I just try to do as many little things every day as I can, knowing that I will be doing something bad in the process. Quatar WC will be rubbish, but will my TV boycott make any difference? Oh and if we’re talking whales check out Sea Shepherd, they get my monthly tenner.

  6. Yes. Absolutely. A lot of countries have human rights violations . But Qatar has a lot of them. Also I think they probably bought the World Cup

    1. That maybe why the repugnant Sepp Blatter will be spending a further 6 years in the the wilderness.

  7. The world cup in Quatar just like every other world cup will come&go&every qualified country will participate..every other country have a human right abuse issues just that the west cover their’s in the name of civilization

  8. Excellent article, thank you.
    The big issue for me is, if football players, teams or organizations start making political boycotts, it will be very hard to draw the line.
    Let me give some examples:
    Should players/teams from democratic countries refuse to play teams from non democratic countries?
    Should Barcelona and PSG be banned from European football because they are heavily supported by money from Qatar?
    If Qatar is unacceptable, exactly what is acceptable?
    Some clubs in Denmark, where I am from, have cancelled training camps in Dubai for political reasons.
    Emirates Airlines is actually owned by the people ruling Dubai, so if we follow the line of thought, should we then boycott Arsenal, because Arsenal takes support from Emirates?
    For me, football should stay making active political stands, and leave it up to the politicians to decide.

    1. Sorry, I meant
      “For me, football should stay out of making active political stands, and leave it up to the politicians to decide”.

    2. Anders Sportspeople are first of all and before being sports people, HUMAN BEINGS! Humans treating other humans with mostrous evil and fiendish cruelty SHOULD concern all decent evolved humans across our planet.

      I could not live with myself If I DID NOT MAKE A STAND against vicious cruelty to other innocent and helpless fellow humans, just to indulge my personal pleasure in watching a TV WORLD CUP in a vicious monstrously ruled country, run by tyrants.

      Each to their own but I SUGGEST IT IS THOSE WHO STAND UP – REALLY STAND UP – FOR WHAT IS RIGHT WHO MOVE HUMANITY FORWARD. I thank God everty day of my life that I have a conscenined and though I am a vert flawed human but I am at least aware of how I need to change. I would hate to be so evil that no other human mattered to me. That would be hell, I seriously suggest!
      Finally Alan, we are cowards if we choose to leave all moral issues to politicians. It SHOULD be for all of us , sportspeople as much as anyone else!

      1. Fair enough. But foreign workers in construction in Dubai are not treated much better than workers in Qatar.
        Should Arsenal and other teams then go to Dubai for training camps?
        Do you/we accept Arsenal are heavily sponsored by a company, which essentially is owned by the rulers of Dubai, who are by no means living up to Human Rights in general?
        By the way, England are in a World Cup qualifying group with Poland , a country which discriminate against the LBGT rights. Should England then refuse to play Poland?
        If football start making political stands, then there really is no end, and I would rather see the football organizations saying, they can’t be political activists.

  9. A very good post, Dan. Protests in Norway against the Qatar WC began buttom-up, from one of the lesser clubs in Norway, Tromsø IL. It is the northernmost club in the top division; incidentally, Tromsø is also the hometown of Arsenal’s U23 player George Lewis. The initial statement from the Tromsø IL club sparked a wave of protests among fanclubs across the country, resulting in numerous teams officially joining the boycott campaign. The board of the Norwegian Football Association has so far refused to back the call for a boycott , but who knows what will happen now that the players and the coach of the national team have taken up protests themselves? The initial press release of Tromsø IL is available in English here: https://www.til.no/nyheter/tromso-il-calls-for-a-boycott-of-the-world-cup-2022

  10. I find it puzzling that Dan’s excellent article has seen an out pouring of chest beating regarding what is right or wrong… have we already forgotten the abuse that Ozil received from fans, for doing what HE felt was right?
    I recall posts demanding he should be sold immediately, because he was damaging the club’s image in China and reminding everyone how much money the club would lose by their boycott of our games.
    Then Aubemeyang spoke out and he received the same kind of treatment (though not as personal of course).
    I believe it is up to each individual to behave and act as their conscious tells them too and if that means they break the law, let them feel the full force of it.
    The problem is though, lawmakers and enforcers do not use the laws already in place, but rather, they play lip service and use the smokescreen of hand wringing to evade taking the actions needed to root out this evil in our society of global football.
    Everyone and his /her dog knew that FIFA was corrupt from the very top, as has now been proven – surely that also makes it obvious that the awarding of the W/C to a country with undeniable human right problems was also a corrupt decision?
    My advice, for what it’s worth, is live your life in a way that you would want others to live theirs and treat every human being with respect and dignity.

    By the way, I believe the UK is just as corrupt as any other country – living within a class ridden 10% who have over 90% of it’s wealth is no reason to feel superior to any other country in the world (my % example is an approximate one from a few years ago).
    People in glasshouses etc etc

    1. KEN WHAT YOU WILL NEVEr ACCEPT IS THAT Ozil was abusing our support and his own teammates by not pulling his weight on the pitch.
      It is a moral duty as well a legal one for all players to give their utmost in return for the fans affection and lets not forget, a huge grotesquely huge salary too.
      It is because he did not give back in effort that so many realists turned against him . And that after his good first year or so start. Explain why so many turned against him if he was not lazy then KEN! IF YOU CAN!!

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