FIFA 23 Is Sportswashing Qatar’s Controversial World Cup 2022

FIFA 23 Is Sportswashing Qatar's Controversial World Cup 2022


Screenshot: FIFA 23

The next World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar later this month, is by far one of the most contentious in the tournament’s 92-year history. And it hasn’t even started yet.

The awarding of the prestigious tournament to the small Gulf state, with no history or pedigree in world football, smelled of corruption. The country’s use of migrant workers to build World Cup infrastructure…who died by the thousands– is shameful. Qatar has been unable to guarantee the safety of LGBTQ fans traveling to the country (his illegal for men to be gay in qatar), and the government has already warned travelers—sports fans—to try to smuggle booze across the border. Plans to force visitors to install an app on their phone—apparently for Covid-19 reasons, but who would also be able to track their movements and phone usage at all times-were only dropped last week after widespread international opposition.

While anticipation for the tournament itself is still high – you could hold it on the moon and fans from all 32 participating nations would still be glued to their seats – the excitement for the World Cup as an event , an event that fans travel the world to witness and celebrate on the pitch, is not even in the same stadium we have seen for other World Cups in Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the United States, South Africa or Brazil.

Earlier this year, a speech by the Norwegian football boss at the annual FIFA Congress said the decision to award the contest to Qatar was ‘unacceptable’while global players union FIFPRO also published a letter criticizing Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers.

In France, the largest group of national team supporters say “their group of travelers would be only a sixth of their size in Russia”. Where 5,000 Dutch fans went to Russia in 2018—itself a massively controversial tournament!— only 3000 go to Qatar. While Europe’s cost of living crisis and lingering Covid concerns also contribute, Qatar’s human rights record, visitor restrictions and security concerns have also been cited by fans. as reasons why they will stay at home.

The Danish team will wear kits designed explicitly to protest against the Qatari government (and the manufacturer of these kits, Hummel, will boycott the tournament entirely), while Australia – citing reports from Amnesty, among others –also released a video criticizing the situation of migrant workers.

All this could explain why the Qatari government has started paying for some fans’ tickets and flights in exchange for positive coverage of the event. Although you have to wonder why they would care, when international video game publishers can do so much of the sports wash work for them.

EA Sports is set to release an official World Cup mode for its flagship sports series FIFA 23, and while the download itself looks fantastic, you can play the entire tournament, recreate games based on their teams match day and recreate history by inserting teams that didn’t actually qualify – there’s a big segment in the middle that is (unsurprisingly) turned off.

This is “The Game Day Experience”, a segment I’ve set up to autoplay below. Keep everything I just said in mind as you watch these digital fans happily mingle and party in the streets:

FIFA 23 | Official FIFA World Cup Trailer

Ah, what a good time everyone (well, not exactly!) has in these wonderful new stages (built by thousands of dead slave laborers!) at such a prestigious tournament (awarded in some of the most corrupt circumstances in sports history!). None of this is surprising, of course, but it’s still worth pointing out. Will some fans still travel to Qatar and have fun? Sure! Would an officially licensed AAA video game publisher be expected to toe the line like this? Absolutely! Does it still suck? Sure !


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