Xinhua Commentary: Stop spoiling sporting achievements with duplicitous aims-Xinhua

Xinhua Commentary: Stop spoiling sporting achievements with duplicitous aims

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-11-23 11:31:30

BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- As the 2022 FIFA World Cup gets underway in Qatar, the world is basking in the glamor of football.

More than 60,000 fans watched the curtain raiser between the host Qatar and Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, and over 1.5 million fans are due to travel to Qatar during the 29-day tournament, which is, for the first time ever, held in the Middle East.

In contrast to global frenzy for this football showpiece, however, there has been Western criticism against the host country on human rights issues since 2010, when it was chosen by FIFA to host the event.

As FIFA president Gianni Infantino pointed out, some criticism was "profoundly unjust" and it was a "double standard" by Europeans for criticizing Qatar's human rights record.

"I think for what we Europeans have been doing the last 3,000 years we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people," Infantino said during an hour-long speech in front of more than 400 accredited media members on the eve of the 2022 World Cup.

"Reform and change takes time. It took hundreds of years in our countries in Europe. It takes time everywhere, the only way to get results is by engaging... not by shouting."

Indeed, those who are always keen to criticize others on moral grounds should focus more on hate crimes occurring within their country's own borders.

Ayman Mohyeldin, an Arab-American MSNBC anchor, also lashed out at "Western double standards" in terms of Qatar hosting the World Cup.

"What has played out over the past several years, and intensified in the final few months before the World Cup's Sunday premiere, reveals the depths of Western prejudice, performative moral outrage and, perhaps most significantly, gross double standards," wrote Mohyeldin, who has long reported on the Middle East and the Arab world, in an opinion piece.

"Is this debate truly about migrant workers' rights and human rights, or is it that European countries and Western pundits, who view themselves as the traditional gatekeepers of global soccer, can't stomach the idea that an Arab Middle Eastern country will host such a venerable event?" he continued.

In a world still facing intertwined challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and regional conflicts, football, and sport as a whole, can become an unrivaled strength to unite the world and bring people together.

FIFA has recently launched a "Football Unites the World" campaign involving some of the sport's biggest stars, including Argentina's Lionel Messi and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Football brings people together like nothing else and the FIFA World Cup will be a celebration of that unity and passion for the game we love so much," Infantino stated.

The World Cup abound with stories about veterans continuing to chase glory and prodigies emerging to shine on the field. This is why hundreds of millions of people across the world are so enchanted by it.

Not only is football a direct way of connecting with people, but it instills common traits shared by all, which ultimately have the power to bring the world together.

"We're living in the same world, we have to live together, we have to understand each other and understand that we are different as well," Infantino commented.

So when faced with the same tired dance of continued diplomatic boycott or biased criticism of international sporting events held by non-western countries, it is best to observe the hidden intentions behind the actors on the stage before making any judgements.