FIFA World Cup: As The Excitement Grows, So Do The Protests

The FIFA World Cup continues to generate excitement from soccer fans and sports bettors around the world. It’s also becoming a global repository for any and every group that wants to protest everything from climate control to human rights violations to the World Cup itself.

German World Cup Protests
German World Cup Protests
German soccer players wear jerseys expressing their support for human rights. The upcoming FIFA World Cup is turning into a political soapbox more than an international soccer competition. (Image: Getty Images)

The latest claims were seen this Saturday in Germany. In different stadiums of the Bundesliga, during the celebration of the 13th day of the Bundesliga, several banners were on display against the celebration of the World Cup in Qatar. Soccer players are also voicing a collective anti-Qatar opinion.

They cry out for a halt to the competition, which won’t happen. However, the protestors will settle for fans changing the channel or bars doing the same. That’s not going to happen, either, at least not on a large enough scale to make a difference.

Just Say No To Soccer

Both at Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund and Hertha’s Olympiastadion Berlin in Berlin, protestors have displayed messages condemning the World Cup. Among the campaigns are banners referencing the large number of deaths that have occurred in recent months in the construction of the stadiums.

One of the banners read, “15,000 deaths for 5,760 minutes of soccer. What a shame!” This isn’t the first time that this has happened in the Bundesliga. A few weeks ago, similar slogans appeared at other soccer fields in the country.

However, the message the protesters display in an effort to push their own agenda is inaccurate. United Nations (UN) data shows that there have been around 6,500 migrant worker deaths in Qatar since FIFA selected it to host the World Cup in 2010. That is the cumulative total number of deaths – not the number associated with stadium construction.

While any death is a tragedy, the actual number of deaths from the construction is significantly lower. The UN data puts that number at just 37.

Qatar’s weather can be miserably hot, which was part of the reason FIFA agreed to move the competitions to the end of the year. To combat the heat, the construction of seven of the eight stadiums included the installation of air conditioning.

Climate activists are up in arms over this. However, they might want to avail themselves of all of the details available. The air conditioning systems rely entirely on solar energy and employ an innovative design that, according to FIFA and the engineer behind the project, is more energy-efficient.

In addition, the solution is completely patent-free. That means the schematics and details on how to install the same solution are readily available to everyone, everywhere in the world.

Just Soccer, No Politics

From activists throwing whipped cream on precious works of art to gluing themselves to the showroom floors of luxury cars, activists are stopping at nothing to collect their 15 minutes of fame. However, as FIFA President Gianni Infantino put it, “please do not allow soccer to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”

On a lighter note, the friendlies between national teams continue today. Yesterday, World Cup hopefuls Saudi Arabia and Iran beat, respectively, non-candidates Panama and Nicaragua. Now, two more matches are on tap for fans today.

South Korea will face Iceland as favorites, -303 to +850, according to Sportium. Bahrain and Canada meet, as well, with Canada in the lead at -138 to +375. South Korea and Canada are the only two of these with World Cup championship aspirations.

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