Why the 2022 World Cup in Qatar 2022 is the biggest sports wash operation in history

World Cup in Qatar 2022

From Batistuta and Guardiola covered in gold to Neymar’s deal with PSG: in twenty years, Qatar has invested more than 250 billion to clean up its image with football.

Edited by Benedetto Giardina

World Cup in Qatar 2022

More than the 1936 Berlin Olympics, more than any other World Cup hosted by dictatorships. Qatar 2022 is an unprecedented investment by a regime that systematically commits abuses and violations of human rights, but which for years has tried to make sport its beauty mask. The biggest sports wash job ever seen in football history and beyond.

The World Cup is the culmination of a project born two decades ago, started at home and exported to Europe, to the point of bringing the best of international football to its stadiums, forcing FIFA to change even the canonical date on which the most important team tournament. For this, more than 250 billion dollars were allocated over twenty years, for a process that began with the champions in decline ready to spend the winter in the Qatar championship and ended with the World Cup being awarded to Lusail, in first world final winter in history.

How the Qatar World Project was born

Qatar’s ambitious project was certainly not born recently. It was 2002, when the World Cup reached Asia for the first time, in the joint edition between Japan and South Korea. There, in the Asian summits of football, a lightbulb went on. Because since that year, the presidency of the Asian Football Confederation belongs to a Qatari, Mohamed bin Hammam, impeached forever by FIFA twice (in 2011 and, after winning the appeal, in 2012).

🇧🇷this world cup – declared at the time – they showed how football is popular in our part of the world but still not professional enough in arab countries. But we have a lot of money to invest🇧🇷 This is what happens a year later, in 2003, when the Qatar Football Association allocates 10 million dollars to each of the ten clubs in the then Q-League, not yet the Qatar Stars League. The target? Convincing some fading world football stars to end their career there, in a tournament unknown to most, unable to establish itself even in Asia.

The first was Batistuta at Al-Arabi, with a two-year contract worth US$ 8 million. Slightly more than he earned in Rome in a single season (12 billion lira nett, around $7 million at the exchange rate at the time), but the Lion King was back from a less than memorable appearance at ‘Inter after the last Disappointing World Cup of his career.

Like the Argentine bomber, many decided to make the trip from Europe to Qatar, in search of the big contract: Romário, Guardiola, Desailly, Effenberg, Sonny Anderson, the Boer brothers, Caniggia, Hierro, Okocha, Dugarry, Basler and many others were won over by the “project”, which is still ongoing. Last season, James Rodriguez, Alderweireld, Nzonzi, Spain’s Cazorla and Javi Martinez, Brahimi and Ayew all played in Qatar, just to name a few people with moderate experience in top-level international football. Previous years have also featured Benatia, de Jong, Juninho Pernambucano and Xavi, who also trained there before being called up to take charge of Barcelona. Adding the 10 million benefits per club each season comes to a total of almost 2.3 billion dollars.

Investments in PSG and Fifa-gate

The names are there, but it soon becomes clear that Qatar is well on its way to becoming an elephant graveyard. In fact, big investment in football followed shortly thereafter, with the birth of Qatar Sports Investments in 2004, controlled by the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar. Again, the projects are ambitious but take time. It starts with the creation of a sportswear brand (Burrda) in 2007 and from there opportunities are evaluated in Europe to get into football that counts.

The choice fell on Paris, with the acquisition of Paris Saint-Germain in 2011. Among the approximately 100 million euros spent on the purchase, the 40 million destined to cover losses and debts, the 1.1 billion agreement with the State from Qatar, the approximately With the capital increases of 550 million and the infrastructure works (Parc des Princes and Campus PSG), the Parisian club’s total investment is around 2.5 billion euros. In addition, Qatar also has stakes in Bayern Munich, as a shareholder in Volkswagen (owner of Audi, which controls 8.33% of the club) and sponsor of the Bavarians with Qatar Airways (20 million euros per year) and with Doha Airport.

All business functional at the World Cup in Qatar? Yes, and the answer comes from the main market investment made by Paris Saint-Germain: Neymar. The Brazilian footballer is an ambassador for the Qatar National Bank, is certified by Qatar Airways and has already promoted to the latter a competition in india to win exclusive packages for the 2022 World Cup.

This without forgetting how Neymar arrived in Paris, with the direct intervention of Qatar Sports Investments for the payment of the clause of 222 million euros. Yet another check kindly offered by the Qatari authorities, when Fifa had already officially awarded the organization of the World Cup years ago. In December 2010, even before the Qatari flag was hoisted in Paris, Joseph Blatter announced the winners of the bids for the 2018 and 2022 editions: Russia, in the first case, and Qatar, in the second.

It was precisely these assignments that exploded the most sensational case of corruption in world football, which led to Blatter’s departure from the scene. Today the former president of FIFA says that it was «an error» organize the World Cup in Qatar.

Exploitation and homophobia, the shadows over Qatar

Yet, unsurprisingly, the World Cup represents the biggest investment Qatar has made in its twenty-year journey. Between Paris Saint-Germain, the Qatar Stars League and other deals, including the most recent acquisition of a minority stake in Braga and the remaining operations carried out with Aspire Academy, we easily reached 5 billion euros. Not for the World Cup, Qataris will rightly say, but all this was done with the sole aim of bringing the football elite to Qatar, perhaps even creating a competitive team.

Yes, maybe not having ambitions of victory, but at least aiming to pass the group stage. They are still the reigning Asian champions and did well in the Arab Cup last year, finishing third after losing the semi-final to Algeria 2-1. of the eight stadiums that will host the championship these days. Precisely because of the Arab Cup, however, FIFA had to recognize the disrespect for workers’ human rights, violations that Amnesty International has denounced for decades and continues to denounce.

The investment for the plants, according to Nasser Al-Kater (CEO of Qatar 2022), would be 8 billion dollars. Which added to the approximately 5 billion spent on international football, bring the total to 13 billion. Then there’s a completely revamped metro system in the Doha area for another $36 billion, bringing the total spend closer to the $50 billion mark.

Between hotels, luxury hotels, telecommunications, airports, roads and security, there are over 220 billion dollars, not counting the television investments made through the beIn Media Group, which owns the international rights of the main football competitions UEFA and FIFA , including this World Cup. A World Cup in which Qatar wants to show its modern and avant-garde face.

Not the face of a Qatar that has employed migrants 12 hours a day, seven days a week on these construction sites, with complaints not only about payments, but even food supplies. Not from a Qatar that, in the words of former player and World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman, defines homosexuality as «mental disease🇧🇷

Source: Fan Page IT