- People in the know about international sporting events would nod in agreement over the not-so-covert undercurrents between the European/Western countries and the Asian countries. This is especially true while organizing some of the most popular and widely followed global sporting events like Football, Tennis, Track & Field, and some such disciplines. The so-called Western superiority over sporting disciplines like Football and Tennis is well known. Indeed, Asian nations are more than primed as well as endowed with the financial resources and technical wherewithal required to organize global events. However, the perceived indifference and preconceived notions of Western countries towards Asian nations haven’t undergone much change though.
PC: INLOGIC SPORTS
- Against this backdrop, FIFA chief Gianni Infantino remarking by critiquing Western notions on the above matter as hypocrisy makes imminent sense. That Qatar, host of the 2022 edition of the world’s greatest show, sporting or otherwise, is no poster boy for many liberal values is not only well known but acknowledged. But neither was military junta-ruled Argentina, World Cup hosts in 1978, or even Russia, 2018 hosts, or 2008 Olympic hosts China had glowing credentials either. Similarly, nor were allegations of dirty political deals and backroom quid pro quo solely the feature of Qatar’s winning bid for this World Cup. France, Spain, and Scotland ban alcohol in football stadiums and there is no critical commentary.
- To its credit, Qatar banned it and there were palpable gasps around the West. That Qatar changed its mind on in-stadia alcohol at the last minute doesn’t reduce the validity of Infantino’s argument. The fact is the world’s balance of power is shifting, although slowly. No longer do the European and Western countries alone command the financial and economic heft. China is already sitting at the high table, and bigger emerging economies like India are perhaps a decade or so away from that status. Nonetheless, in global sporting bodies, the collective power of Asia matters much more, as does that of Africa. The West’s accommodation of these realities has been somewhat grudging. But what matters on the ground eventually nullifies those grudgings as well.
PC: Rajarshi shukla
- Look not far than the hostile reactions of England-Australia dominated international cricket administration to India’s rising financial power. Now, global cricket minus India is unthinkable. Also, consider the hundreds of millions of dollars European football teams have received as investments from Gulf nations and China in recent years. Not just Qatar-owned PSG, but Barcelona, Manchester City, Inter Milan, and other top European clubs have attracted vanity investments from the Middle East and the Middle Kingdom. Money talks very loudly in running sports and those who have the cash will want their share of the limelight. As chief of the body that runs the world’s biggest game, Infantino knows this well.