Uk News England's players are showing more courage than the football authorities ever will United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Do you remember that controversy over the One Love armband? It seems only yesterday that our chief concern was whether Harry Kane would show symbolic support for “a world of healthier relationships” in England’s opening World Cup game. He didn’t, but very quickly it was superseded by discussion over whether Gareth Southgate would play four at the back. He did, and politics was forgotten the moment Jude Bellingham rose to put his header past Iran’s reserve goalkeeper.For the Islamic Republic of Iran, however, everything was only too real, and not just because of their team’s unfortunate capitulation on the field in Doha. The protest of the Iranian players before kick-off, refusing to sing their national anthem in solidarity with demonstrations against the clerical regime back home, was brave, moving and effective, supported by the local TV producer’s decision to show a female Iranian supporter in the stadium in tears – and banners proclaiming support for Iranian women.As Gary Lineker, who has lived up to his promise to confront the serious issues around the Qatar World Cup, said at half-time, it illustrated again “football’s power to do good”. We do not exactly know what good will become of the Iranian players’ courageous stance, but there is no gainsaying the power of visual images like these, on a global stage, to challenge religious or political orthodoxies.Some may feel uneasy about footballers being used to make statements of political intent when business leaders and politicians do not do the same. This is particularly true when it comes to the question of Qatar’s own politics. Did those who negotiated the sale of The Shard to the Qatari state wear One Love armbands? Did the owners of British Airways who sold a quarter of their company to Qatar’s national carrier lecture them on their human rights record? Of course not. Instead, it is left to our footballers to take a stand – or, more accurately, take a knee – and we should feel proud that the young men representing England are prepared to make their feelings known.More from OpinionPrince William is walking a tightrope over Qatar World Cup – and the Welsh aren't helping22 November, 2022World Cup has seen billions slosh around Qatar but its global reputation has been battered22 November, 2022Be outraged about Qatar money makers, but widespread greed reaches far and deep in the UK22 November, 2022The English football authorities, meanwhile, have always taken a pragmatic position when it comes to the question of social conscience.
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. Likewise, there wasn’t a problem with Abu Dhabi money reviving the fortunes of Manchester City. Down the years, sketchy figures connected with politically unpalatable regimes have sat proudly in the directors’ seats at English football grounds.Our national game, driven by money, makes a calculation. What’s a few human rights abuses compared with the injection of billions into the Premier League? What’s the persecution of gay people alongside a potential title challenge? And so we come to yesterday, when we learnt the precise limit of standing up for your beliefs and wearing an armband. It’s simply not worth a yellow card.Don’t blame the Qataris. Their social conventions – unconscionable to us – are the result of ages-old religious beliefs. And who can blame them for using their vast wealth to build global influence and power?The real outrage is that they found a willing accomplice in Fifa, football’s governing body, who decided that the desert kingdom, a country with no heritage in the game and a shameful attitude to human rights, was a fitting venue for the World Cup. In so doing, Fifa betrayed a venality, an ignorance and an arrogance that, even by its own diabolical standards, was breathtaking.And so we must leave it to the players to rescue the reputation and the magical appeal of the world’s game. So far, so good.
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