Tags: Middle East

Qatar Deserves the Red Card

Wednesday, 03 June 2015 11:29 AM Current | Bio | Archive

You say “Cutter,” he says “Ca-tar.” Regardless of the pronunciation, anyone with an iota of fair play should demand that Qatar be given a red card for its involvement in the FIFA soccer scandal rocking the world’s biggest sport.

After “allegedly” paying millions in bribes, it successfully secured the 2022 World Cup, shutting out the runner-up, which happens to be the United States.

And what did the “loser,” do “wrong?” It naively believed that it could compete on merit, instead of cheating, to score the winning goal.

But the game isn’t over, and the U.S. is refusing to look the other way on the institutional corruption so rampant at FIFA, soccer’s governing body. It no longer matters whether the failure of other countries to call out FIFA for its blatant racketeering is due to cowardice or complicity.

What’s important is that the one bastion of justice left in the world has stepped up its offense, indicting numerous soccer officials and requesting their extradition to America.

And that perseverance is paying off, as FIFA president Sepp Blatter just resigned his post. But this isn’t enough. To make the situation right, the U.S. needs to assert its moral authority and insist that Qatar be stripped of its selection to host the Cup.

Anything less will send the message that cheaters do prosper. And the corruption will continue, scarring the sport, and the billions who love it, that much more.

Here’s a look at the field of play:
  • Based on overwhelming evidence, the 2022 World Cup location should be discarded, replaced by a new bidding process with complete transparency.
  • Every country has a right to compete, but Qatar winning? Seriously? How many red flags are needed to see that selecting Qatar would have to be a tainted decision?

Most obvious is the heat, as summer temperatures exceed 120 degrees. To mitigate that problem, the games are scheduled for November and December, not the traditional Cup period. Yet that time-frame conflicts with teams’ schedules and other tournaments, begging the question of why FIFA would bend over backwards for a small, irrelevant nation. Unless, of course, suitcases full of cash had something to do with it.

Then you have Qatar’s ban of alcohol and homosexuality. If those things are their cultural norms, backwards as most think they are, fine. But if they’re not willing to accommodate the fans, (and Qatari officials have said there are no guarantees of anything changing), they should not have bid, and most certainly should not have won.

Throw in that:
  • A former top Qatari soccer official who was involved in the bidding process has been banned for life by FIFA for bribes and conflicts of interest.
  • Thousands of migrant workers, lacking even the most basic human rights, are predicted to die constructing stadiums.
  • And, security will be a nightmare of unprecedented proportions. So it’s easy to see why so many were bewildered when Qatar was selected, and are even more so now.
All Americans, whether fanatical about soccer or think it’s an overhyped recreational activity, should be outraged. Eighteen U.S. cities with world-class facilities, guarded by the best security services, would have hosted Cup games, generating thousands of jobs and billions in revenue.

To lose is one thing, but to lose due to corruption, is quite another. That anger must be expressed to our elected officials, FIFA, and through media outlets.

The political correctness rearing its head must be quashed, as there are whispers that the U.S. advocating Qatar lose the games would be perceived as a crusading America imposing its will on a weaker Muslim nation, sure to stoke resentment of the Arab street.

Here’s a newsflash. Many already hate us. To walk away from doing the right thing in a naïve attempt to appease belligerent Muslims would be selling-out ourselves, and our values.

Undoubtedly, American officials, starting with the President, can influence the right outcome, since it’s pretty hard to say “no” to the world’s only superpower.

But that hasn’t happened.

Where is America's leadership? Why haven’t we demanded fairness? That’s not to say America should automatically be awarded the Cup. But the new playing field should be level for all.

The quest for the World Cup should not be politicized, as the Olympics were under Jimmy Carter. Nonetheless, our political leaders should use every bit of leverage to make things right. The world is watching, and America has a golden opportunity to once again be the shining City on a Hill.

Most people can only dream of goals. Americans make them happen. So let’s give Qatar the red card it deserves and get on with the game. The right way.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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The U.S. is refusing to look the other way. The one bastion of justice left in the world has stepped up its offense, indicting numerous soccer officials and requesting their extradition to America.
Middle East
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 11:29 AM
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