Guernsey Press

Will Qatar furore mar World Cup?

THE World Cup is upon us, with England playing Iran this afternoon and Wales taking on the USA this evening.

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Those still buzzing following England’s Lionesses victory in the Euros might well be hoping to see more feel-good sporting successes for their side in the coming weeks.

But even the most fervent football fan will be aware of the controversy surrounding the World Cup’s host country of Qatar.

The event has taken 12 years of planning, cost £220bn and been tainted by accusations of corruption, unexplained deaths, and an abysmal human rights record.

Knowing all that, is it possible to still enjoy the ‘beautiful game’?

Some are advocating a boycott of the World Cup to send a signal against all that Qatar stands for. But what does football itself stand for?

For many people, it provides a source of hope, of unity, an emotional outlet, which transcends language, culture and status. It can be a force for good which stretches far beyond the pitch.

So what will a boycott really achieve?

Much like rejecting a book you love because you disagree with the political stance of its author, denouncing a film because you dislike the director, or shunning a piece of art because of an issue with its creator, refusing to watch the World Cup merely because of its host country will, in the end, punish only one person: yourself.