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Blog 6: Our man in Qatar!

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

Good on the Infantile one claiming FIFA are driving change in Qatar. Just as in 2018 he claimed that FIFA had transformed “the perception that the world has about Russia” on accepting an Order of Fellowship medal from Putin, conveniently forgetting Russia had annexed the Crimea from Ukraine. Hope you wearing your medal with pride Infamy! Arguing that all teams should concentrate on the football, whilst claiming he sincerely understands the plight of migrant workers (1 Nepalese worker died in Qatar every 2 days in 2014 on stadium building sites) having been a migrant himself (in Switzerland) and being bullied for having freckles. A salary of $3million a year would soothe the pain somewhat.

I passed a massive billboard in Doha claiming “sport is an effective tool for achieving sustainable development and preserving the environment” Not bad from the world’s largest exporter of LNG that built its incredible wealth on oil ! (300,000 Qatari citizens have the highest income per person in the world. This World Cup has cost $220bn more than the last 8 World Cups combined!) And with many Qataris walking out on their defeat against Ecuador it seems $$ don’t buy support.

People say it’s not healthy to think of what might have been.

In 2010, Australia, a nation with a great sporting tradition, as multicultural and inclusive as any nation on earth, was denied the opportunity to host the World Cup. And the winner was….Qatar. After the Socceroos dramatic late comeback win against Japan in 2006, that defeat to Italy (when I witnessed the world’s first ever sufferer of the falling down disease), Tim Cahill’s stunning equaliser in 2014 against the Netherlands when the Socceroos were in the lead against the previous Cup’s runner-up made me feel like Australia was on top of the footballing world. What a party we’d have put on for the world. It was not to be. Here in Qatar, it is not about the fan or the communal joy that is the essence of the game. No, it’s about FIFA giving a middle finger to football fans. Being asked to pay $22 for a beer, assuming you can get into a fan park, or see a game on TV and finding out that most bars have refused to pay the fees. I’m looking forward to the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year when we can show FIFA and the world what they missed by their shenanigans.

IT's 1962, the World Cup is in Chile Brazil is in crisis after an army coup, with huge inflation, and football does what it does best. Covers the cracks and makes everyone feel good again. Brazil wins the final beating Czechoslovakia 3-1. And so, to 1966 and England, the first World Cup to have a mascot – ‘World Cup Willie’. Funny how times change.

Australia were beaten in the qualifiers by a country that had never played in the World Cup before – North Korea. My dad saw the Koreans play Portugal at Goodison Park in Liverpool where the Portuguese got the fright of their lives – 3-2 down at half time! The Koreans had been promised a ‘certificate of merit’ if they did well which must have been a bigger incentive then the one I got at school. The Portuguese had conquered Hungary and Brazil and it was only the magician Eusebio who scored 4 who saved them, winning 5-3 overall. Dad reckoned it was one of the most exciting games he’d ever seen…but then he did support Everton. The Koreans wear apparently freaked out at the religious iconography at their lodgings at Loyola Hall…which was my junior school!

England played a feisty Argentina with the “dirtiest player ever” (after Madrid’s Sergio Ramos), Antonio Rattin being sent off by a German referee and had to be escorted off the field by 2 policemen. England win 1-0, West Germany beat Uruguay and the Soviet Union (who?) beat Hungary 2-1. A popular final score as both England and West Germany then win 2-1 vs Portugal and the Soviet Union respectively in the semifinals. And now for the final. With great names – Beckenbauer, Overath, Seeler and Gert Gratz for Germany….Charlton 1 and Charlton 2, Hurst, Hunt, Banks and Nobby Stiles with a smile for the ages playing at Wembley

Credit to the Iranians for their silent protest in not singing their anthem given their fellow citizens are being slaughtered. And so to the game…

Back to the beers. A Heineken costs 60 riyals ($22), a half a rack of ribs 215 riyals ($80). I’ve never been so sober. Should have listened to my Ma and packed some sangas!


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