View from Grosvenor East: 12 reasons why our Sports Journalism students won’t be boycotting the Qatar World Cup

The Qatar World Cup is set to kick off on 20 November. The competition has been enveloped by corruption allegations and concerns about human rights laws in the host country since Sepp Blatter announced that the World Cup would take place in Qatar. This week MMU Sport Journalism students unanimously decided that they WILL be following the competition: here are their views:

  • Human rights and LGBT issues are very important in the world and in football, but boycotting the World Cup, the biggest competition in the world, is an impossibility. No matter how many people boycott there will still be millions tuning into every match – Jack
  • I wait 4 years for this tournament, I shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of FIFA’s corruption. Teams should take measures to highlight the issues and speak out, but viewers who are solely interested in the football have a right to support their country. It would be more effective to PLAY at the tournament and shallow the key issues that Qatar faces, giving the public a greater insight, than to refuse to watch/engage with the tournament. – Morgan
  • The World Cup shouldn’t be boycotted because it isn’t the fault of the fans and journalists that FIFA controversially handed the tournament to Qatar, however it is still important to voice opinions over the issues that surround it. – Callum
  • The World Cup should not be boycotted due to many groups of fans from all around the world having tickets for the games which would end up proving very costly. The World Cup is also a chance for players to prove themselves on the world stage which they have been working towards their whole lives. – Kane and Vikram

Patrick went so far as to list his objections:

  • The organisers won’t care
  • Football should be apolitical
  • (Bit controversial but) I know it is bad that so many people died, BUT boycotting the tournament would be even more unfair on them as it would mean they put that in for nothing
  • At this stage, it would make no difference
  • It’s possible however to show a stance in some form, like how Denmark is going to wear a toned-down jersey where you cannot clearly see the national team’s badge or manufacturer Hummel’s logo

again, not one to make a difference but it is at least showing the right view so at least they clearly care.

One way or another, the World Cup will be the topic on everybody’s lips for the next month, and Sports Journalism students are focusing on following their teams.

  • The event is already underway, with the wheels in motion ready for the first match next week. Some people feel they have a duty to back their nation, and a boycott will not help with this. – Jude
  • We shouldn’t boycott the world cup because there is nothing we can do as a small group to genuinely make a difference and change corruption in the game. We aren’t officials or high-profile people who have a big enough platform. – Callum
  • Unfortunately, boycotting the World Cup at this point makes little difference, however, that isn’t to say you can’t still take a stand. Paris for example has recently announced they will not show World Cup matches in public places or set up “fan zones”. Denmark will wear shirts at the World Cup that protest the human rights record of the host nation Qatar. As journalists, we hold the power to turn off the light in terms of positive coverage of Qatar. Instead, we will focus our coverage on how damaging hosting the World Cup in Qatar has been throughout the tournament. – Joe
  • Because there’s still a lot of journalism to be broadcasted and written, if we boycotted, we’d show that corruption has won, whereas we could create stories about it and compare that to players’ performance and overall outcomes throughout the competition. – Beth
  • I didn’t take the money or decide the world cup would be in Qatar, they have many problems which should be spoken about during the tournament but it’s unfair for the responsibility to go against the world cup to go to athletes and journalists when it is FIFA’s fault, no one else. Tournament comes around once every 4 years and as a Wales fan I may never see them in another world cup again so no chance I’m missing it. – Ed
  • I disagree with boycotting the World Cup because I feel it would indicate a huge hypocrisy. Nations such as the United States have recently struck down key women’s reproductive rights and their products haven’t been boycotted. I remember not too long ago France moved to ban women wearing the burka and they weren’t boycotted. Although I disagree with much of what the Qataris stand on I do not think it is right to impose beliefs. – Jordan

With a wide range of opinions and positions considered, it’s clear that the Qatar World Cup is just the latest sporting event to generate controversy – and that the Sports Journalists of the future need to well versed in the stories!