The 2022 World Cup in Qatar continues to receive criticism from all corners of the footballing landscape as the Arab world is just two weeks away from hosting its first-ever global tournament.
With attention being brought to a myriad of issues at every opportunity, it was time for Germany’s vaunted fan culture to have their say this weekend when multiple protests broke out at grounds across the Bundesliga during matchday 13 of the top-flight competition as reported by DWSports’ Matt Ford.
Huge anti-Qatari World Cup tifos were displayed by fans from Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Hertha BSC at both the Westfalenstadion and the Olympiastadion during Bayern’s 3-2 win against Hertha and Dortmund’s 3-0 home win against VfL Bochum.
“15,000 tote für 5,760 minuten Fussball! Schäkt euch!” one Hertha sign shouted during their loss to Bayern, whose fans also chimed in with the same message displayed in their club’s colors. That was added to by Dortmund’s home support in the Ruhr valley with a clear message that read “Boycott Qatar 2022.”
The same message displayed at Dortmund today was also seen last night during Gladbach’s 3-1 home win against VfB Stuttgart at Borussia Park, with Die Fohlen fans getting behind the same message as fans some of Germany’s biggest and most influential clubs have begun to flex their muscles ahead of the winter spectacle.
This comes in the wake of FIFA president Gianni Infantino and FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura urging nations to “Let football take center stage” in an open letter to all participating nations, calling for those involved to leave politics out of proceedings this winter and concern themselves only with matters on the pitch.
But as a global game that speaks to togetherness, it comes as no surprise that tens of thousands have already threatened to boycott the tournament from a viewers perspective while some national federations have also chimed in with calls for a creation of a compensation fund for families of migrant workers that have lost their lives.
Moreover, the Ukrainian FA has urged FIFA to strip Iran of its participation due to heavy speculation that the Islamic Republic is supplying Russia with weapons and other assistance in its ongoing invasion of the country.
Others still want Iran stripped of its place on the back of their treatment of women in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody, while eight UEFA participants have committed to wearing heart-shaped captains’ armbands in support of an anti-discrimination campaign.
In what is shaping up to be arguably the most controversial World Cup in the tournament’s history, fans mobilizing their voice in protest remains at the very core of what makes the sport a game of the people; all people.