If there’s been a theme to the 2022 World Cup thus far, it’s the concern the host nation appears to encourage in everybody concerned within the occasion.
Gianni Infantino would possibly as nicely have had a laser sight on his brow when he spent over an hour of his life on Saturday debasing himself in protection of Qatar’s human rights document. It was a becoming show from the top of a company that has rolled over and given Qatar no matter it desires each step of the best way in the direction of this match. Qatar acquired the winter match it wished, the beer-less tournament it wished, and as of this morning it’s getting the anti-gay match it wished.
Homosexuality is illegitimate in Qatar, and a number of other groups within the match had made plans to take care of this queasy actuality with a small symbolic gesture: crew captain’s have been going to put on rainbow armbands that stated “One Love” on them. Gestures don’t get way more feeble than that, and but Qatar couldn’t resist placing its foot down another time. According to multiple reports, the groups that had deliberate to have their captains put on the armband have now reversed course. Within the first match of the day, England captain Harry Kane didn’t put on the armband.
Technically, it’s FIFA that curtailed the the carrying of the armbands by warning the nations’ varied FAs that any participant carrying an armband that isn’t permitted by FIFA might face sanctions, together with in-game yellow playing cards. Germany’s FA president called FIFA’s warnings “unprecedented” and a “present of energy.” But it surely’s apparent that FIFA is simply doing the identical factor it’s been doing ever because it put this World Cup on the calendar 12 years in the past: taking its marching orders straight from Qatar.
All of this places the gamers in a troublesome place. The captains of those groups might go forward and put on the armband anyway, settle for nevertheless many yellow playing cards that results in, and take care of the on-field penalties. A extra productive response would require some escalation: If each participant on a specific crew determined to put on the armband, moderately than simply the captain, would the referee actually begin the sport by handing out 11 yellow playing cards? That will very flip this whole match on its head, and both pressure FIFA to double down or discover some guts.
Hovering over each set of choices obtainable to the gamers, nevertheless, is Qatar itself. Nothing about how this World Cup has unfolded has indicated that the host nation is in any respect prepared to evolve to attitudes or rules that aren’t their very own, so who can guess what they’d do in response to an enormous public spectacle calling consideration to their anti-gay insurance policies. The gamers on these groups should now determine if that’s a query they actually wish to discover out the reply to, or if they simply wish to play some soccer.