The 2022 football World Cup has expressed the irrationality and rottenness of the capitalist world to the highest degree. The bourgeoisie is well aware that this time the competition openly reeked of corruption, as revealed by the "Qatargate" scandal involving a vast network of corruption within the honourable institution of the European Parliament, subsidised by Qatar and Morocco (one of whose vice-presidents, a "socialist" to boot, was imprisoned after the discovery of the money; €600,000 in cash was discovered in her home) or the strong suspicion that the president of the Union of European Football Associations, Michel Platini, received substantial kickbacks for having supported Qatar's bid to host the World Cup, where the smell of the bodies of thousands of workers who died on the construction sites still lingers! But our rulers prefer to forget about it quickly and rave about the "good organisation of this World Cup". An expression, probably, of their cynical "positive attitude" in the midst of an economic slump! The bourgeoisie can never deny itself an opportunity to stir up chauvinism and nationalism, even if it means rolling in the mud!
Stadiums built on workers' blood
The terrible working conditions of the workers who built the stadiums, metros, housing and the new town of Lusail have been known for a long time: forced labour, prohibition of eating or drinking on the construction site, confiscation of identity documents, wages paid piecemeal (or not at all), rotten and overcrowded housing, imprisonment in the stadiums or other workplaces, prohibition to leave the country or to change jobs...
It is impossible to know the exact number of serious and fatal workplace accidents, as Qatar does everything possible to hide the figures. But investigations by The Guardian, the BBC and Amnesty International clearly indicate that thousands, if not tens of thousands of workers from Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Sudan have died in these labour camps. To top it all off, a few weeks before the World Cup, the workers were evicted en masse from their homes to make room for the fans and to "cleanse" the neighbourhoods of the barbaric reality of sport and capitalist exploitation.
This competition is also a staggering environmental disaster. At a time when the planet is warming up dramatically and water resources are becoming scarce, threatening entire regions with ecological disaster, the bourgeoisie has found no better way than to build eight air-conditioned stadiums, each consuming 10,000 litres of water per day, for a deplorable sports competition!
The hypocrisy of the great "democracies”
Faced with the indignation caused by the barbarity of the Qatari bourgeoisie, part of the Western press and left-wing parties were forced to denounce the horror of the situation, as well as the retrograde character of the regime in place. As usual, we are told that only Qatar and the corrupt football governing bodies (i.e. part of the bourgeoisie) are responsible for this disaster. But the real culprit is capitalism!
The "democratic" countries have also have both feet in barbarism! Because the construction companies, the logistics or transport companies are French, German, Chinese, Dutch, Belgian... The president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, cynically answered the criticisms and accusations coming from European countries: "How many of these European companies that earn millions and millions in Qatar or in other countries of the region (billions every year), how many of them have considered the rights of migrant workers? I have the answer: none, because if they change the legislation, it means less profit”. For once, he cannot be accused of lying! The "democratic" countries thus participated in the World Cup without flinching, and not only in terms of sport. Homophobia, archaic regimes, slavery and death do not count. The juicy profits are worth a few thousand workers' lives. If the Emir of Qatar and his clique of despicable mafiosi inspire only disgust, far from being an aberration, they are only an expression of the sordid reality of capitalist exploitation!
Faced with imperialist stakes, football is not just a "game
The organisation of the World Cup in Qatar was decided in 2010 by the democratic countries, with the strong support of France and the other Western powers, all in an atmosphere of shameless corruption. For these sporting events have nothing to do with the "brotherhood between peoples" so much vaunted by the bourgeoisie. France, for example, supported Qatar and its desire to appear as a respectable regional power, because it has important interests there.
But immediately after the vote, accusations of corruption multiplied, revealing the imperialist stakes and tensions behind the football "party". It was the British media that accused FIFA of corruption. It was the American justice system that investigated and convicted officials in the various international football organisations. US President Barack Obama even openly criticised the choice of Qatar, because the US itself wanted to become the host country for 2022 and reap the revenues and prestige!
Now that the energy crisis is raging in Europe following the war in Ukraine, it is even more important to maintain good relations with Qatar, which is a major producer of liquefied natural gas. It is no coincidence that Germany and China have just concluded agreements to import Qatari gas.
But there is one thing that the various bourgeoisies will not shy away from: the frenzied nationalist propaganda that each of these competitions generates! With its flags, its national anthems, its supporters bellowing their hatred of the opponent, the World Cup is a new opportunity to unleash a huge campaign to make the workers believe that uniting behind the national flag, the flag of the interests of the bourgeoisie, is just a harmless festival of fun.