64  Questions about the World Cup

Screenshot 2022-12-05 at 13.29.46


  1. Is everybody enjoying the World Cup so far?


  1. Are you not entertained?


  1. How about the 6,750 people who died so you could watch some football?


  1. How do you feel about them?


  1. Please tick. Do you feel: Very sad about them    Sad about them    Not sad at all    Couldn’t care less


  1. Did you think about not watching the World Cup because so many people were killed?


  1. Or should sport be separate from politics as Hitler and Putin wanted?


  1. Do you have a favourite team? Anyone But England, I suppose?


  1. Great to see Messi and Mbappé starring on the big stage, isn’t it?


  1. If every one of the 64 games lasts 100 minutes that will be 6,400 minutes in all, about one dead person per minute of football, that’s a nice synchronicity, isn’t it?


  1. And how do I feel about not watching the tournament?


  1. Am I angry that the games are happening?


  1. Am I jealous of those who are enjoying them?


  1. Am I sad to be missing out on my first World Cup since 1970 when I first fell in love with ‘o jogo bonito’?


  1. Am I feeling smug?


  1. Full of righteousness?


  1. Or is this all an exercise in virtue signalling?


  1. My virtue in particular?


  1. The ideal number of people who should die for sport is zero, but how many would you tolerate before you’d refuse to watch a World Cup?


  1. Please tick. 10 people   100 people      1,000 people       10,000 people     100,000 people    Not applicable


  1. Does the fact that the migrants workers were from mainly India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka make a difference?


  1. Would you believe that the death toll is much higher than 6,750 since that doesn’t include other countries like Kenya and the Philippines and the deaths since 2020? [Source: The Guardian]


  1. Or does that even matter?


  1. If you knew some of their names, would that make a difference?


  1. Or the circumstances of their deaths?


  1. For example, if you knew that Mohammad Shahid Miah was 29 and from Bangladesh and he died when floodwater in his room came into contact with an exposed electric cable, electrocuting him? [Source: The Guardian]


  1. What if you saw pictures of their widows and orphaned children?


  1. Would that matter?


  1. What if some Irish people died in Qatar, would that change things for you?


  1. What if you knew one of them personally?


  1. What if he was your friend, your brother, your father or uncle?


  1. Would you watch the World Cup then?


  1. How many Irish people would have to die for you not to watch the World Cup? Please tick: 1 person     5  people      10 people      20 people     Not applicable


  1. Qatar claims that criticism of its hosting of the World Cup is racism, but is that true?


  1. Amnesty International is the main critic, is that a racist organisation?


  1. Really?


  1. If enough people (and the right people – people like Eric Cantona) had declared they were going to boycott the World Cup, would it have strengthened the case of families for compensation?


  1. If Gianni Infantino thought that ‘his’ World Cup would be unpopular, would he have acted to support the families of the dead?


  1. Some people have argued that not watching the World Cup won’t bring back the dead, so why bother?


  1. But it isn’t over for their families, is it?


  1. And it’ll never be over, will it?


  1. The GAA honoured the 14 dead in the 1920 Bloody Sunday massacre in 2020, will there be a commemoration to the thousands who died in Qatar in 100 years’ time?


  1. Anyway, 3 billion people will tune in so what does it matter if any of us does or doesn’t?


  1. 3 billion people can’t be wrong, can they?


  1. And why should Irish people take a stand when Indians, Pakistani, Nepalese, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan people are watching it?


  1. And what about all the whataboutery in sportswashing, anyway, so why pick on FIFA and Qatar?


  1. What about the Saudi investments into Irish horse racing?


  1. What about the Winter Olympics in China?


  1. What about the World Cup in Russia?


  1. What about Newcastle United and Manchester City?


  1. What about Qatar emblazoned on referees’ shirts in URC rugby?


  1. What about Roy Keane and Gary Neville criticising Fifa and Qatar while enjoying their hospitality and making money out of it?


  1. What about all the sportswriters and commentators, making money from it, enjoying the crumbs scattered from the FIFA banquet table?


  1. Here’s a Maths question. If FIFA are making $7 billion profit from the tournament, and they compensated $100,000 to every impoverished and bereaved family, what percentage of their $7,000,000,000 profit would it cost?


  1. And who knows if I’m really not watching the games, anyway?


  1. Or if I’ll stay the course now that the quarter finals have begun?


  1. And what about my friend who told me I’m cutting off my nose to spite my face?


  1. Or the Facebook friend who pointed out that we all knew about the world slave economy, so why are we only getting worked up about it now?


  1. Or the friend who phoned me to meet up in the pub to watch Germany and Spain?


  1. Did I turn up and eat crow washed down by the pints?


  1. Or have I backed myself into a corner when I wrote an essay about all this and am I too proud to back down now?


  1. This stuff isn’t easy, is it?


  1. Is everybody enjoying the World Cup so far?


  1. Are you not entertained?


*photo by Travis Jones.