Last week, the United States won the 2019 Women’s World Cup championship. The tournament, Franklin Foer wrote, was “an exhibition of excellence, a noble step in the struggle for gender equity.” In contrast, he argued, the 2022 Men’s World Cup, set to take place in Qatar, “will be an authoritarian regime’s vulgar vanity project, allegedly made possible by massive corruption.” The money that would be spent on that World Cup, Foer said, would be better invested in the women’s game.
Franklin Foer’s “Cancel Qatar” is a pile of dated arguments and failed logic. The crux of his argument is that opportunity and advancement in sports is zero-sum. While there can only be one winner, it is the belief of the State of Qatar that sports have the power to not only bring people together, but also inspire and advance generations and genders across continents.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will take place in one of the fastest-growing regions for soccer fandom, and population, in the world. It is incredibly meaningful to the Arab world to host an event like the World Cup, and to give the tens of millions of people who live near Qatar a connection to a global event.
Foer kicks around a disproven argument that Qatar got the World Cup on something other than merit. Time and again, investigations and reports have cleared Qatar’s bid. We won the vote by the substantial margin of 14 to 8. It’s time to put those falsehoods away for good.