One Love armband clusterf*** the final straw for some. Others are siding with FIFA…

Date published: Monday 21st November 2022 12:34 - Ian Watson

FIFA president Gianni Infantino with the World Cup trophy ahead of the tournament in Qatar.

Monday’s second Mailbox (even before England have kicked off) reacts to the surrender over the One Love armbands. Not everyone is hammering FIFA or Qatar, though…

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Tipped over the edge
And with that I’ve decided to actually, legitimately, boycott this world cup. Before it was refusing to pay for the privilege or even let their advertising dollars reach my eyeballs, but now I won’t watch a single second of this hypocritical sh*t show.

The second the final is finished all will be forgotten as the football world turns it’s attention back to club competitions that were definitely never going to be disrupted by a winter world cup. FIFA, with no hint of self awareness, will go back to proclaiming inclusiveness. Minority players will continue to hide their true selves for fear of repercussions as everyone keeps saying the right things while doing the total opposite.

Anything for the money. F*ck FIFA.
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus.


…How craven a decision is that? Or would be, if it came to that? That gesture is worth less than a yellow card? In a group stage game?
I mean, imagine that. Seven FAs want to make a gesture, then FIFA says, if your captains wear the armband they will be booked. And the FAs go, oh, no, we can’t do that to our captains, a yellow card! Geez.

That is shameful. I understand that the players want to play in this sh*tshow – it’s not too often they get a chance to play a WC, so fair enough. But this now? Rolling over and lick the boots of FIFA and Qatar? That’s worse than if they had actually not started talking about the armband and simply kept quiet.
JJ, Germany, Disgusted


…Really angry at England and others bottling of wearing the One Love armbands. There’s statistically about 800m LGBT people on the planet and the battle for acceptance is ongoing in every country including the UK and the US where the body count from the latest mass shooting is still being counted.

They’ve also shown FIFA where their line in the sand is. A single f*cking yellow card.

Imagine a world where Rosa Parks decided to walk instead of catching the bus.

I will be booing them taking their knee alongside the racists in the pub today. Although FIFA know how to stop them doing that again don’t they?
Alex, South London


…Ha, ha, ha. The FA, what a joke! They remind me of that other great comedian, Groucho Marx: These are my principles. And if you don’t like them, I have others.
Matt Pitt


Tatts out for the lads
“England and six other associations have told their captains not to wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup over fears of sporting sanctions”.

Och, just get it tattooed. F*ck them.
Bill, Aberdeenshire


…Personally I think the European nations who now aren’t going to wear the armband should have doubled down and had the whole team wear the armband and call FIFAs bluff.

Are FIFA going to simply have all those players booked every match and turn the tournament into an utter laughing stock?

Even if they had just stuck with captains I think FIFA would have backed down.


Booking players for wearing the wrong Captains Armband.

This is all perfectly normal.

Carry on,


Bigger than a boycott
To boycott or not to boycott. Will it make a difference or change anything if I watch or don’t watch? Who knows. And I genuinely don’t know, but I have still steeled myself not to watch. It pisses me off that corruption of money, corruption of morals, and corruption of humanity have robbed me of a World Cup. I mean, how many can we be sure we’ll ever see?

But let’s park the boycott talk. There is something bigger, something that stops it being a choice and a stand to decide to make, whatever the reasons that have led me to turn off, reasons that were a personal choice to weigh, when it comes to it, can you watch a game in a stadium that people were forced to die to build it? Not 100 years ago, not out of an act of bravery, or a sacrifice for the betterment of humanity, people were forced under threat of pay, the threat of being able to deliver for their family, to work in conditions that were killing people.

Could you watch Heysel now, with the covered bodies on the sideline? It beggars belief that the game carried on, that people could still watch, it wouldn’t happen now. These days when a tragedy happens things rightly stop. But a tragedy did happen, every world cup stadium in Qatar comes with its own score, the number of people that died in its construction and related work, the number of people broken, or forced to endure cruelty for pittance. So I have decided to boycott, but separate from that, even if I decided I will watch it, I quickly couldn’t once I saw a game played in a stadium that was built on barbaric cruelty and needless death. That is still administered right now with cruelty. With that in mind, I couldn’t watch a game or the pageantry in this World Cup. It usurps any weight of decision making.
Austin Maguire


Hypocritical BBC presenters
First, I’ll give credit to the BBC for addressing the issues in Qatar, rather than showing that awful opening ceremony (Morgan Freeman now on the list of people I can’t watch anymore).

However, what really showed to me the hyprocrisy was when Alex Scott was asked why she was there. Her reasons were a) I love my job (so what?) and b) we are changing things by having the conversation. I disagree – Ian Hislop nailed it on HIGNFY. It would have shown far more backbone for the presenters to not go to Qatar – especially Alex being a woman and gay. As usual though, money wins out. Gary Lineker, Alex Scott, Gary Neville, David Beckham…list goes on
Tom (didn’t watch the game, wont be today either) London


Start the Qatar
One thing missed by Dave Tickner’s excellent piece on the opening game of this shambles of a WC (appropriate abbreviation tbf as the whole tournament is essentially one big toilet). The stadium for the opening game wasn’t full and by half-time was more than half-empty. The paid-for Qatari ‘supporters’ (sing, dance all game to pick up your pay packet, lads) obviously HAD to stay for the full game but it was clear that your average Qatari doesn’t give a hoot about this tournament in general and football in particular. Given the location, the politics and the cost of getting to and staying there, it’s going to be half-filled stadiums at best from here on in. A shameful indictment of what happens when FIFA pust cold hard cash ahead of the game they’re supposed be in charge of.
Phil, Wirral


…OK, I didn’t see the match but by all reports Qatar were awful. Most likely they will be out of the tournament by Friday evening, and will exit without a point (possibly even without a goal). It was clear from the awarding of the world Cup 12 years ago that Qatar would be the worst team ever to ‘grace’ a World Cup pitch. The only credit I can give the Qatari FA is that at least they didn’t stuff their team with naturalised Brazilians.

Personally I’m happy they will be out as a smack on the nose for the Qatari higer-up bribers-in-chief and their homophobic despotic overlords. Got to feel a bit sorry for the players though, who are performing to the best of their limited abilities, but are the ones in the very public firing line.
James, Switzerland

FIFA president Gianni Infantino next to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in the stands before Qatar's defeat to Ecuador.

The case for the defence of FIFA, Qatar
I will get pelters for this, I know I already have when trying to state this.

For one of the first times in my life I agree with FIFA, the West’s coverage of the Qatar World Cup is shocking, now to the point whereby the BBC won’t show the opening ceremony and instead asked their football “experts” to give speeches on the rights and wrongs of geopolitics.

I get it, people don’t understand that when someone starts a sentence saying they feel gay, Arab, disabled or whatever what he is saying is that he feels empathy for these groups. Well done world for not understanding this.

The amount of hypocrisy that is peddled at this World cup from the West is incredible. Do you think in South America, Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe (which accounts for ~85% of the world) they are getting on their high horse about these matters? No. FIFA represents the world not the small percentage that is the West that no longer rules football or the world as it once did.

So, what about all the thousands of people that died building the stadiums I hear you say. The 6500 deaths that the Guardian reported is the most fake of fake numbers ever, however lazy people cannot bother to do any research. 6500 deaths represents the number of people that have died in Qatar that are from South Asian countries that make up about 60% of the populations over 10 years prior to the world cup. That includes the death of people that didn’t work on the stadiums, the deaths of people that don’t work in construction, that includes people that don’t work like students, that includes babies, the elderly, literally everyone that has died in 10 years that has a passport from South Asian countries. It’s like saying every person from Eastern Europe that died in England between 2002 and 2012 died building stadiums for the London Olympics.

The official figure of people that died constructing the stadiums is 3. Sure, that’s a figure giving from those nasty Qataris and therefore is an underestimate, therefore let’s just ignore that and include everyone that has ever died in the last 10 years. Note I think 3 could be an underestimate but I have no way of knowing the exact number or if this is greater or lesser than the amount of people that died building Wembley and the last 8 stadiums in England. Do we demand this data from the UK government, if not we are hypocrites like Infantino says.

I’m sure conditions were not great for workers, but in the lower edges of society conditions are not great, are council houses in London great, are the lower income projects lovely in the USA, the Favelas in Brazil or the Banlieues in Paris?

But they only get paid £1 an hour, yes, they get paid around £200 a month but they also get all their accommodation and food paid for which allows them to send the large majority of their pay back home. So conceivably saving £1500-£2000 a year. How does this compare to the UK, are the working classes saving £1k-£2k a year after accommodation and food? Does anyone not see the hypocrisy of multi-millionaire ex-footballers and TV presenters crying out for fairer pay in Qatar when their salaries are astronomical compared to the UK minimum wages? Alan Shearer even demanded that FIFA pay £400m towards these people that died no doubt based on the Guardians fake information, why does Alan not donate his salary and say 90% of his wealth if he feels that strongly about it, I’m sure he could survive, or will he not because he’s a hypocritic?

There anti-LGBTQ+ stance and laws are a disgrace, I thoroughly disagree with them, but this is hardly unique, there are 69 countries or regions in the world where it’s a crime to have same-sex activity. We should try and educate not castigate. I don’t hear the same issues being raised with Singapore, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Egypt, Dubai, Jamaica or the Maldives. Its hypocritical of people to talk of boycotting the world cup unless they are also going to boycott the F1, Cricket and honeymoons to the Maldives. If not, you are a hypocrite as Infantino says.

Most countries in the world have laws, customs and morals I disagree with, but I don’t boycott them. In fact, unless I’m going to go live as a nomad on a mountain it’s pretty hard for me to live without coming into contact and supporting one of these countries that I fundamentally disagree with.

The Qataris own large stakes in Sainsbury’s, British Airways, Barclays bank, Harrods, Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf and the Shard, I assume people will also be boycotting these companies and places based on the Guardian’s misleading numbers pretending that everyone that has ever died in Qatar in a decade was related to building football stadiums. If not you’re a hypocrite as Infantino says.

Infantino is right, why are Europeans not focusing on our own immigration issues, you know the British are the ones that decided to implement a block of freedom of movement and now surprisingly have a huge increase in illegal immigrants crossing the sea by small boat, no doubt the two things are linked as we still need people to do those low paid, low skilled jobs, but let’s not focus on that. Let’s instead through stones at Qatar and their treatment of South Asian labourers. You do realise Qatar was a British colony as recently as 1971? Not 3000 years ago, 1971 when we decided to “give” them their independence.

You know Qatar is the worlds safest country in terms of crime and ranks very highly on the global peace index ahead of the UK? No, thought not why would we try and look for positives and potentially learn from them, no much better to criticize based on misinformation.

The next world cup is partly in the USA. I assume all the build up to that world cup will be based on elements of the US cultures and laws that we disagree with like gun culture, the death penalty, anti-abortion laws and the human rights abuses in Guantanamo bay?

Unless the BBC plan to not show the opening ceremony of the USA World cup live on TV because of the “controversy” that exists in the USA then Infantino will be right and the West will be hypocrites.

I look forward to getting annihilated by those open-minded people that cannot accept a different opinion and blindly follow whatever the left-wing newspapers tell them to. Just in case it was not clear, I’m not in favour of poor human rights, Qatar is not perfect and lots has and needs to change, but like all countries they have issues, my point is they have been overblown and the West as Infantino has said have been massive hypocrites.

Paul K, London


Whataboutery corner
Are we really doing this? Sure, Qatar has its issues but are we this sanctimonious when World Cups and other tournaments are played in other countries. In US, for instance, that invaded Iran, Afghanistan and has been guilty of crimes in many other countries and who still continues to operate Guantanamo Bay? Or how about Israel that is engaging in genocide of Palestinians? What about India and their oppression in India occupied Kashmir? Or even UK itself who invaded Iraq along with the US on false pretenses?

I’m sure many of these bleeding hearts mean well but this is just sheer hypocrisy on display.


Unlucky Mexico
Having just read Ali Ezz point about Mexico maybe being unlucky regarding the standard of their opponents in the last 16, I would have to counter this by saying – no they aren’t unlucky and the quality of their opponents is pretty much a direct result of the them consistently finishing as runner up in their group. Once you finish in second, you are always likely to come directly up against one of the bigger, better nations in the first knock out round. This is simply the way the draw works, as the top seeds in each group are generally the more successful nations and unless they have a shocker, tend to win the group.

Looking at their record the only times they won the group were in 1994 and 2002 – on both occasions they were handed favourable draws against Bulgaria and the US. Although in 1994 Mexico managed to top their group because their 1 win was 2-1 rather than 1-0 (all 4 sides finished on 4 points, with a 0 GD ), so were arguably very lucky to even win that. They really should have beaten an average US side.

So all in all, Mexico haven’t been unlucky but have got as far, sometimes further than they deserved. Second spot will get you through but you will always be presented with a tough game straight away as a result.

Paul, Frankfurt

Read more: One Love armband surrender is seven national disgraces. FIFA must face a fight…

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