Author: Conservative values, strict Sharia laws, Fifa power at play in Qatar

Al Rihla

Fifa on March 30, 2022 launched the 2022 World Cup ball for the finals in Qatar, promising it would travel faster in the air than any ball in the history of the competition.

Photo credit: Pool |

What you need to know:

  • In addition, the author includes needed, objective coverage of off-field controversies such as the Fifa corruption case, making this book the only complete and impartial history of the tournament.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will present the biggest interplay between culture, religion and financial muscle ever seen in history.

A recent international webinar, organize by USA-based The Media Project (TMP) on the November 20 to December 18 extravaganza heard of the positive spin-offs that the desert country is likely to get years after the curtains fall on the show. Clemente Lisi, who has just published the book, The Fifa World Cup: A History of the Planet's Biggest Sporting Event told the participants that the issue of conservative values, strict Sharia laws by the Qatari Government and the financial muscle of Fifa will all come at play during the event.

In as much as the Qataris might be interested in maintaining the conservative mien during the event, Fifa, whose main concern is the bottom line, might have no qualms with fans having a good time at the competition, the author said.

In his book (whose serialisation on Nation Sport starts on Thursday) Lisi provides vivid accounts of individual games, details the innovations that impacted the sport across the decades, and offers biographical sketches of greats such as Pelé, Diego Maradona, and Lionel Messi.

In addition, the author includes needed, objective coverage of off-field controversies such as the Fifa corruption case, making this book the only complete and impartial history of the tournament.

Consuming alcohol

The TMP webinar was attended by participants from as far afield as Kenya, Nigeria, Peru and United States of America.

The Media Project is a New York-based collaborative of global journalists.
Lisi, a veteran journalist who also teaches journalism at the King’s College in New York, said this year’s World Cup might just herald new thinking in the Arab world. “It would be interesting to see how the Qataris will enforce some of the strict laws governing issues like dressing and consuming alcohol to the thousands of fans from across the globe.

“To many of these fans, the World Cup is a merrymaking occasion and they will be going to Qatar for just that.

In answer to a question by Nation Media Group’s Sports Editor Elias Makori, Lisi admitted that the raging debate in Qatar’s neighbour Iran over the head coverage for women, hijab, might likely spill over into the World Cup host nation during the event.

Iran has been wracked by protests in recent weeks after the killing of Mahsa Amini while in custody for allegedly “wearing her hijab improperly” outraged Iranians and sparked a new round of nation-wide protests.

Although the stadia built for the event might run into disuse because Qatar is not known for its sporting prowess, one of the biggest spin-offs would be in the tourism sector, the author said.

“The World Cup will have Qatar on global TV for nearly every hour for the duration of the tournament, many years later there are people who will want to visit after watching the competition,” he said.

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