It's not just about the World Cup beer: FIFA is stabbed by favorite child Qatar

For many fans, football and beer belong together.

It's not just about the World Cup beer: FIFA is stabbed by favorite child Qatar

For many fans, football and beer belong together. You don't have to like it. Like the Emirate of Qatar. This prohibits serving in the stadiums. An affront to FIFA, which is now being stabbed by those who have always protected it against all odds.

What hasn't FIFA done and endured to protect the upcoming World Cup in the Emirate of Qatar. The unconditional guardian role even culminated in an absurd propaganda letter from the almighty head of the association, Gianni Infantino, who asked the 32 participating nations to please keep politics out of this tournament. You can, no, you have to interpret this plan like this: Let's celebrate the games and let's just forget what was and look past what is. Let's forget the human rights violations, the deaths of thousands of migrant workers and the repression of the LGBTQI movement.

But now, 48 hours before the start of the World Cup, the guard FIFA is being stabbed to death by those it has defended against all attacks for twelve years. In doing so, he threw every remaining moral element overboard. The emirate overturns the agreements on the sale of alcoholic beer in the stadium. One may consider this marginal, but it is not. The World Cup host shows who has sovereignty in this tournament, he snubs FIFA - and it collapses again like a wet fries. The communication on the alcohol ban now states: "A pleasant, respectful and satisfactory stadium experience will continue to be ensured". The talks with the brewery are likely to be rather uncomfortable for FIFA.

An example from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil shows just how important the beer deal is to FIFA. And so the Brazilian Senate passed the so-called "Budweiser Bill" in May 2012 - the sale of beer in the stadiums was suddenly allowed at that time. FIFA had demonstrated its power. But now she has found someone more powerful. The consequences are not (yet) foreseeable.

In essence, it's not even about the spontaneously forbidden beer. Alcohol is not completely banned in Qatar, but is only served to a very limited extent, for example in bars or restaurants in certain hotels. It is a question of respect to accept and tolerate the way alcohol is used in other countries. And if the situation had been clear from the outset (which it was in the original concept) and had not repeatedly been poured into compromises, the outcry would only have been great once, but the matter would never have grown into such a dangerous demonstration of power. And FIFA cannot even make the excuse that a change of government would have changed the terms. For twelve years, the association has known who it is dealing with - and has politely made itself hostage. Infantino himself moved to Qatar. Probably not just because it's warmer there than in his Swiss homeland. And also not to monitor the situation on the construction sites.

It is almost cynical that FIFA also lost the duel with Qatar in which it is said to have fought most vehemently. The world association had resisted this ban until the end, according to several international media reports. How often would one have wished for such a commitment in other places, most recently when World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman said "Being gay is mental damage". But the World Association was silent, as so often when things got tricky and attitude was needed. A quality that runs through the history of World Cup awards. Whether during the military dictatorship in Argentina in 1978 or in Russia in 2018, four years after the illegal annexation of Crimea. The only new thing about this World Cup is the level of outrage in society, which hits the extremely opinionated FIFA.

Just don't provoke the host, who powerfully bought international football and many countries (also in Europe) with all their connections and dependencies. FC Bayern knows about it and after the World Cup has to answer the explosive question of further cooperation with sponsor Qatar Airways. The French also maneuver themselves through with strange justifications to explain the waiver of the tolerance bandage on the arm at the tournament. The economic pressure is too great. The fear of alienating or even losing an indispensable partner in the prevailing times of war is too great.

But how reliable is this partner? For FIFA, the answer is now: Qatar is unpredictable. So there is growing concern that the beer agreement will not just be overturned. Are other commitments suddenly on the brink? About security guarantees for queer people. You don't have to paint the worst scenario, but trust in Qatar's word has been massively shaken. For FIFA, this also means that they are no longer in control of the tournament. The obedient world association is powerless against arbitrariness. The dagger of power is always in the back - now it has been pushed through for the first time.

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