Over the next month, I'll be covering the World Cup forTribalfootball. And along the way, I'd like to share with you some of my experiences and keep you up to date with all the action.
No time to waste
The tournament hasn't finished, yet promotion for Qatar 2022 has begun in Russia. I first noticed structures going up last week and this morning I stumbled upon an extensive promotion at the famous GUM department store. Memorabilia from every previous World Cup was lined up down the entire aisle, from shirts to gloves to boots to photos, as well as models of the tournaments' incomplete stadiums.
Intrigued, I asked Mike, one of several volunteers, a few questions. He told me seven of the eight planned stadiums had not been completed. They will all be air-conditioned - he said of course! - and are some of the most beautiful stadiums ever built. I don't disagree, the displays looked magnificent. But what about the means with which they were built?
There hasn't been one death in construction, Mike assures me, although later adding that it is inevitable for people to die during the building of such great structures.
It is a known fact that scores of migrant workers, predominantly from Nepal and Bangladesh, have died during the construction of the Qatari stadiums. And many have been subjected to human rights violations. (Read Jonathan Liew's brilliant article on the migrant situation)
I'm not trying to throw Mike under the bus. He is an innocent volunteer who took the post in order to improve his English speaking skills and gain experience. He told me that the Qatar 2022 organisation sent out an advertisement for volunteers and that hundreds of people had applied, making the position a coveted one. The volunteers were then put through a single one-off training session that lasted six hours. That's a long time to miss out of some important details.
Anyhow, here are photos of each stadium... (as well as my new mate Mike)
There are decent arguments for both sides of the debate surrounding whether there should be a third-place play-off.
I know if I was a player from England or Belgium I wouldn't want to play. Losing a semi-final in any competition is heartbreaking, let alone at the World Cup. Having to stick around and play what is a essentially a glorified friendly prolongs the inevitable heart-aching reflection each player will have in the short time before they return to their respective club.
Conversely, the point former Norway International Jan Aage Fjortoft has raised for why players should enjoy the tournament is a valid one. Aage Fjortoft argues that being able to play another game at the quadrennial tournament is a privilege, which should spur on both teams, along with the chance of taking home a medal.
In any case, this isn't South Korea in 2002 or Sweden had they'd advanced to semi-finals this year. Players from England and Belgium have won Champions Leagues and domestic titles. A bronze medal from the World Cup probably won't sit high in the trophy cabinet.