Despite the heat, this World Cup leaves me cold

Despite the heat, this World Cup leaves me cold

Those who know me, know I am a huge soccer fan, I watch it on TV and get to live games whenever I can. Since the age of about 5, thanks to my grandad, I have been a passionate Arsenal fan, living through the glory days of Arsne Wenger and the slumps before and after. Like all ” Gooners” I am basking in our revival and a hopeful return to those glory years under Wenger. I have owned every bit of Arsenal merchandise ever made; when alive, my dog Bobby wore an Arsenal collar, and I am a familiar sight around the church in my Arsenal baseball cap. As much as I love soccer, as much as it excites me, the prospect of this World Cup, the traditional battle of the worlds footballing giants is leaving me cold.
Bill Shankly once commented that football was more important than life or death, now it seems both life and death do not matter to a game that has been consumed by money. The World Cup is a spectacle, universally watched and enjoyed by all ages, its image I fear has been tarnished, its principles sold, it has given away its soul.
Some say that sport should be beyond politics, but this is not politics. This is life and death. The death of over 6,000 migrant workers in the construction phase simply cannot be ignored, Qatar’s treatment of those who are LGBTQI+ likewise cannot be brushed under the carpet, the rights of women and young girls cannot be ignored. The players did not choose this venue, they had no say but those who did surely have questions to answer because it seems Bill Shankly ironically may have been right; football is more than life or death and that is footballs shame.

Author: Mike O'Sullivan

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