Would there be an asterisk next to England if they win Fifa’s Fyre Festival of a World Cup?

Euro 2024 qualifiers - England players line up before a match Credit: Alamy
Euro 2024 qualifiers - England players line up before a match Credit: Alamy

The World Cup is upon us and the Mailbox is battling with the morality of it all, and questioning whether a win would be tainted…

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com.

 

The Fifa Fyre Festival
So it looks like all the rotten, deceitful pigeons are coming home to roost over Qatar. We’ve endlessly debated ever since Russia and Qatar were awarded their world cups about Fifa, corruption, but now finally it is all being exposed to the sunlight.

– Fan villages looking like the Fyre Festival
– Salads that look worse than the Fyre Festival Sandwich
– Netflix Documentaries outlining the systemic corruption in Fifa
– Budweiser who paid £75 million for the priveldge of being the official beer having the right to sell it taken away – and let me tell you, money is king, over everything, so good luck getting a world cup in another muslim nation.
– Free speech being stifled by Fifa re Denmark’s protests
– Over 6000 people have died at work during this period of time (mainly but not solely related to WC construction)
– Hotel’s being double and triple booked meaning people have no where to stay
– Qatar renegging on promises made in their bid

I feel sorry for the players who have to go to a desert to play football, to the fans who are going to be treated terribly and the Qatari’s who will be blamed for the actions of a few corrupt individuals. The only hope we have is that this world cup is the death knell for Fifa and we can burn it all down and start again.
John Matrix AFC

 

An email to the FA
Good day,
I would just like to share a email I send to the FA!

To whom it may concern,

I feel compelled to state that I will not be watching England play in the World Cup this year.

I am absolutely disgusted by the way migrant workers have been treated in Qatar. I am not going to go into any details since you should be painfully  aware of the working conditions in Qatar. While I fully and strongly support actions to enlighten people on the question of racism or the LGBT community it seems that the life or death matter of people working in Qatar have quietly been buried under the centre circle of many stadiums (figure of speech) but I’m sure you get the idea.

This is not an easy decision for me for I love to watch football, I’m really gutted. I watched England win the World Cup in 1966 (there are less and less of us who can say that) …. at the time people poured out of their homes and onto the streets after the game to celebrate the victory.

I’ve watched every World Cup since and this was not an easy thing to do. I moved to Canada in 1967 and football up until the last decade or so was very difficult to watch since soccer was barely on the radar of sports or the public mind in Canada. In fact I took a lot of ridicule being a football fan in those days.

So I’m sicken not to be able to watch the World Cup, but there you have it.

Over the years I helped many Canadians to become interested in football and have been instrumental in at least 20 people becoming serious fans of Liverpool FC in particular, some of whom have travelled all the way to Anfield to watch a game.

So, I’m very disappointed in the FA for not making a stand on what was going on in Qatar, for if you had acknowledged the situation in some way, I could have maybe justify watching the World Cup. I’m 70 years old and who knows if I’ll be around to watch another one.

It’s all very very sad.

Yours sincerely,
Christopher Blythe

 

A tainted World Cup
It was discussed in the mailbox that somehow the World Cup winner would feel tainted. It won’t. Not to the players and not to 99% of fans. Once the tournament starts, the sport is the sport and the location of the tournament does not affect how we view the winners.

I feel like I’ve been banging this drum for a while now, but can we please remember where the 2018 World Cup was held? Russia. A country where, according to Amnesty international: torture in is pervasive. Violence against women in common. Human rights defenders are targeted as “foreign agents.” Counter-terrorism laws are used to stop protests. Police harassment is a daily occurrence. Although LGBT relationships are legal, ‘promoting’ these rights could get you locked up in prison and assaults on LGBT people are common. Not to mention that in 2014 Russia invaded Crimea and in 2018 they used chemical weapons in an attack on UK soil. If what is happening in Ukraine now has surprised anyone, you haven’t been paying attention.

And yet, I don’t remember anyone describing France’s World Cup win as ‘tainted’. England’s run to the semi-finals was a cause for celebration, not something that was ignored or boycotted. Why is Qatar, which is rated just 2 places ahead of Qatar on the Human Freedom Index, an assessment of human rights, so bad when Russia was fine?

Look at China, a country which comes in 22 places LOWER than Qatar on that same index. They hosted the Olympics in 2008. Were Usain’s Bolt’s achievements there tainted? What about Chris Hoy? Christine Ohuruogu? James De Gale?

Even in Qatar itself, do you think that Dina Asher-Smith doesn’t consider herself a real world champion because the World Champs were in Doha? Is Peter Sagan only a 2 time World Road Race champion, instead of 3, because one of them took place in Qatar? No.

We can and should protest and raise concerns about human rights in Qatar. But there have been many, many sporting occasions held previously, held by regimes that were not morally acceptable. We can complain about the awarding of these events, but it will not diminish the achievements of the winners.
Mike, LFC, London

READ MORE: Booze ban and paid-for fans snub a Qatar harbinger in ‘a World Cup like no other’

 

The asterisk World Cup
As a Liverpool fan I have to point out that this is the asterisk world cup. We were told that covid made our Premier league win the asterisk season, so in the very least a winter world cup in Qatar overshadowed by hundreds of deaths is an asterisk world cup for whoever wins.

Also as a Liverpool fan I am disappointed to have to remind us all that no one should have to die for a football match.
Simon M, LFC 

 

3-6-1 vs Iran
I must admit that even I don’t believe that the guy who managed to get England relegated could fail to get England out of our Group of Not Very Good Teams, but having read a bit more about Iran, I’m starting to harbour some doubts.

England are historically notoriously slow starters in tournaments, have no distinctive shape beyond sticking as many centre-backs and right-backs on the pitch, picking whoever tracks back the best from midfield, and hopefully scoring from a few penalties, free kicks, and corners. By contrast, Iran seem to have a proper team with an actual coach; the Welsh have Bale and a massive chip on their shoulder, and the Yanks seem equally motivated to get a result.

Assuming three slow central defenders is the starting point with Walker knacked, I was wondering how the current golden boy Madison fits in…and then it struck me…surely it is time for the 3-6-1 to come out. What a formation that could be, marrying defensive stability with lots of wonderful middies, and possibly room for all of Gareth’s favourites at the same time. Bring it on…problem solved…and just a quarter-final with Qatar and their refs to overcome before glory beckons.

Can’t wait,
Matthew (ITFC)

 

Foreign player impact
Oh, Dara O’Reilly, please . . . Not that lazy, long-discredited argument again. Having a high influx of foreign players in a league does NOT stifle domestic talent. Here’s a cut-out-and-keep list of bullet points for you to refer to next time this idiotic thought pops into your head:

  • The greatest England side ever in terms of pure talent – 2002 – occurred when the Premier League was awash with foreign talent.

  • Having gifted foreign players clearly helps rather than hinders young domestic talent. Think of Eric Cantona’s influence on Scholes, Beckham, Neville etc. Or the impact of Bergkamp on Paul Merson or Ian Wright.

  • I grew up in the 70s when there were next to no foreign players in the English game. You know what? The England team wasn’t that great. Mick Channon, anyone?

  • Those leagues that continue to be mostly made up of domestic players aren’t doing conspicuously well. I offer you Bulgaria, Switzerland, Norway, Finland and many more.

  • Greg Dyke agreed with you and he’s been emphatically wrong about everything forever, so there’s also that.

Matt Pitt

 

World Cup tele
I watched ‘The Phenomenon’ documentary about the Brazilian Ronaldo last night. As if anyone needed reminding, what a bloody player. For my money the best striker to ever do it and he did it with joy and panache and a big old smile on that beautiful bucked-tooth face of his. Unlike, ahem, another Ronaldo. The footage of his second injury is devastating. The man’s knee exploded, forcing his kneecap literally halfway up his thigh for goodness sake. To come back from that and live a pain free life would’ve been something, but to go on and win a World Cup and a golden boot with it, is ridiculous. Anyway, I recommend for any pre-tournament viewing to get any dried-up World Cup juices flowing.

Also, I’ve seen a few of the MOTD World Cup Top 10 shows with Lineker, Shearer and Micah Richards. I don’t mean to sound rude, and I have thought these thinkings for a long time now; but does Micah Richards literally know anything about football? The amount of times he has to be carried on anything that happened before 2018 is alarming. His input seems to be asking groundbreaking questions like; “Do you remember Zidane!?” and “Who was Zico?”. The sort of which want to make me ram my head through the screen when I imagine how much he’s getting paid for his ‘insight’, but hey ho. If they got someone on the show who was obviously a novice and had no experience of football and it’s history, then it would make sense for Lineker to answer any dumb questions and that could be the format of the show. But the man is meant to be an expert! “WHO WAS ZICO?!?!?!” Give me strength.

Anyway, carry on.
Big G

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