Today FIFA announced that they are formally moving ahead with plans to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November and December of that year, with the final being played a week before Christmas. As you may already know, Qatar's World Cup infrastructure is being built using Moses-era slavery practices. One of the stadia will probably be in the shape of a lion with Sepp Blatter's head. Thanks to FIFA's open fondness for bribery, 4,000 migrant workers are expected to die in service of a shortened World Cup that has been moved right into the heart of the professional soccer universe's regular season schedule. It will be terrible in every conceivable way.
Unless people start pulling out, which is precisely what the US men's national team ought to do.
I know that, as soccer nations go, we are piddly shit. We may not even qualify for that 2022 World Cup unless we hand out some green cards to a bunch of German toddlers (our coach is on it). Despite the fact that a handful of sponsors have already pulled out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which will be conducted under Vlad Putin's very particular brand of 1986 action movie villainy, all of FIFA's ongoing shenanigans—which, I must again note, include literal human enslavement—have been met with indifference.
That has to end. I am a sports fan, which means that I am willing to put up with a lot of corrupt jackassery from my owners and commissioners and college presidents. It's baked right into the system. But come the fuck on. This is insane. I don't expect much of America, but if Dan Snyder had thousands of people die to build him a new stadium (don't think he wouldn't), I honestly believe that people here wouldn't tolerate it. We shouldn't tolerate what's going on over in Qatar. We should pull out, and we should do it now.
If no one else follows suit, then we can claim some kind of bullshit moral superiority. But maybe, just maybe, other countries and corporate sponsors (which, let's face it, have more sway here) would also pull out, creating a domino effect and forcing FIFA to relocate the event. We could also, alternately, band together with other nations, cut FIFA out of the mix, and stage a Global Cup without them, but I'm a realist. I know that's a pain in the ass. It would actually be easier to compel FIFA to, this one time, rein in their evil just a bit to save a few lives and save the world from a World Cup that will be poorly timed, sloppily played, and physically hazardous to its participants.
This has to be the insanity line. This has to be the moment where we look at a corrupt sports entity, and say, "What the fuck are we doing? We can't do this." Nothing is worth this. Nothing is worth standing by and letting Sepp Blatter—a truly revolting creature—bulldoze neighborhoods and grab asses and snort powdered gold as he sees fit. If people want to accuse the US of hypocrisy for pulling out of this shit, fine. I can live with that. We're hypocrites, you got us. Guilty as charged. Still, while there will always be a base amount of corruption in the sporting world, we shouldn't let it get to this. We should demand FIFA move the tournament somewhere where the games will be played in the summer and only, like, 20 people die instead of 4,000. That's the more reasonable level of corruption. That's the Roger Goodell level.
There is no upside to participating in this upcoming fiasco. Soccer won't be better for it. The brands won't be better for it. Players certainly won't be better for it. This doesn't have to be a moral decision. It can be a practical one. We should pull out, and tell Sepp Blatter to go eat a bag of dicks. We've got seven years to nut up and do the right thing. Boycott World Cup 2022.
Top photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty