Sepp Blatter’s misplaced self-confidence and unfounded assurance that the Football World Cup can be a force for social change has been interrogated this week by Amnesty International, leaving FIFA and it’s volatile chief in the firing line yet again.
Despite confident and persistent claims that the World Cup can vitalise communities, Amnesty International’s report on the exploitation of migrant workers in Qatar has forced the FIFA President into a heated dialogue with the country.
Having likened the exploitation of construction workers to modern-day slavery, Amnesty’s study rings alarm bells. Should we award this prestigious tournament to countries where where there are deep concerns over a lack of moral awareness. Can football really bring about such a drastic shift in attitudes?
…they will embrace the game as a channel for social change…
With much of the population of Qatar completely uninterested in football it seems unlikely that they will embrace the game as a channel for social change. We would expect though that next year’s hosts Brazil, as an icon of world football, would be able to embrace Blatter’s vision. However, it seems even the football-mad Brazilians are questioning the ambiguous and democratic phrase ‘social change’.
Earlier this year, protestors emerged with banners reading ‘World Cup for Whom?’ and ‘FIFA go home’ during an official inspection of the Cuiaba stadium. Their message was clear: we must question the exorbitant amount of money being levied for this sporting spectacular. We must also consider whether social change can be better fashioned through listening to the needs of the nation rather than the egoism of a Swiss man in a suit.
…Sepp Blatter may need to reconsider his sales pitch…
The mass political outcry against the money being spent on hotels, stadiums and temporary infrastructure is enough to show us that Sepp Blatter may need to reconsider his sales pitch.
The World Cup certainly brings enormous benefits, but Blatter’s statements regarding the social impact may need realigning with the voice of the people in the future. Is anyone else getting a sense of déja vu?