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Human rights: We cannot find a dark corner to hide in and mumble about integrity

By 0024832062 -

Football should always steer clear of politics, so the old dictum goes. However, are we seeing this stance change? How far is any adjustment a tacking to the current wind or does it represent a sea change brought about by the swell in social media?

Normally not questions for this Spurs blog but as our figurehead, Harry Kane, has suggested that he wants a say on the matter of human rights at the Qatar World Cup 2022, we now find that our course is heading in that direction.

Harry has also pointed out that our ship’s captain, Hugh Loris, our star navigator, Son Heung-Min and the pirate of Madrid, Gareth Bale are all national captains. He suggests that Spurs have the possibility of presenting a united and powerful front on this voyage of discovery into global politics.

There is an obvious sense in what Harry is saying, Spurs does possess an influence on deck. The real question for us is whether we can allow that football should not exist in social isolation. If we agree that football has become more than a Saturday afternoon sporting pastime, we then have to decide if our game should leverage political and social situations.

Should we try to protect our entertaining sport with some sort of ideal of purity or should we accept a moral responsibility to engage with a wider world?

Straight away we can see the first brontosaur in the bathroom; FIFA. The Qatar World Cup is the pinnacle of corruption that has plagued the governance of our global game for decades. Anyone who says different simply does not understand football. Therefore, the question of an ideal of purity is a level of hypocrisy that only the bureaucracy of the football world could conceive of, even though they don’t believe their own words as they speak them.

In our 21st century game, money and power politics has already taken our sport by the throat. When nation-states use wealth funds to buy football clubs, when billionaires who have plundered their country’s resources for their own personal gain own these special toys, we cannot find a dark corner to hide in and mumble about integrity.

We may think we have rights as football fans but the history of Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester United, Derby County and Spurs, to name but a few, demonstrate that our clubs are the property of owners. If you have no shares then you own nothing. Any belief otherwise is just a mythology. Our football is part of the ocean of corporate capitalism and if you are looking for morality on that man-of-war, then you are deluded.

The concept of a purity of our sport, an integrity of purpose or any other higher moral value cannot be held forth as a credible position on any ethical map. FIFA have demonstrated that by awarding the premier football tournament to a country without a football history and a climate unsuitable for playing the sport in but with the ability to buy the competition with huge stacks of dollar bills.

All of the Middle Eastern Arab kingdoms have a bad history in respect of the way they treat migrant workers. To say that servants are seen as chattel is not far from the truth. To state that the life of a migrant worker is not truly valued is displayed in the accident and injury statistics but also in the way the victims are then treated. We all knew this before Blatter and Co trousered the cash.

This is a real problem for Harry and his heartfelt sense of moral justice. We don’t have to blame the lad. He is a footballer not a moral philosopher. However, just because you are going to go and play in a World Cup seeking glory and, let’s be honest, treasure chests, does not mean you can cleanse the soul of football by platforming human rights. Not unless you keep that stance up when in 2023 you collect a Balon D’Or or other baubles and trophies.

If our national captain opens this particular current within the football discussion, it can only be put away again as an act of hypocrisy. Once on the private jet leaving Qatar, any feeling that you have changed the situation of migrant workers in the Middle East will be little more than smug self-congratulation. Therefore, for it to be meaningful and sincere, the stance will have to be maintained.

That is never going to happen and we all know it. All this exercise amounts to is a very public washing of conscience. Harry and the other Spurs players should be dissuaded from adopting the approach he is suggesting. The voyage to Qatar is a pleasure cruise and not a suitable vehicle for serious objection.

If the lads want to do something, act in a meaningful way, then they should put themselves up as UNICEF ambassadors or aid charitable work on behalf of migrants. That is where the political voice is appropriate and meaningful gains can be seen over the horizon. As top world-class footballers, their weight in such places has real meaning in the long term. Dragging our corrupt football authorities and corporate clubs into some sort of moral branding crusade is as disastrous as it is pointless.

Let’s back Harry, but let’s navigate him in the right direction and let his undoubtedly good heart unite with a sensible course of action.

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Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
5 months ago

If we want to talk morals (I assure you that 99.9% don’t want to talk about 5 genocides by the USA/UK/NATO the past 30 years), then you can look at all the US owners’ contributions to Democrats/Republicans the past 30 years.

You have to be a mentally subnormal cretin not to know that you are funding mass murder overseas, no matter which of the two puppet shows is on stage.

So all US owners who have willingly funded those parties have willingly funded genocides in Serbia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and other places. That makes them absolutely unfit to own any sports outfit. No questions, no negotiations, they are mass contract murderers and that’s the end of it.

The number of deaths attributable to the USA since 1991 is well into the millions, absolutely orders of magnitude worse than Putin’s deeds the past month.

On no account should the USA have been allowed to remain in world sport after their Iraq genocide: no chance on earth.

Saddam Hussein had been funded by the CIA for 30 years, they’d sold him chemical weapons to use on Iranians. Not that the CIA has ever stopped dictators murdering the indiginous folks. Try Guatemala, Nicaragua just for starters.

The USA should have been told 40 years ago to shut down the School of the Americas, the world’s greatest training hub for death squads, or be banned from world sport. What did they do? They rebranded it.

This whole sanctions rubbish is all about the USA gangsters kicking the Russians out of European markets and the Europeans have decided to commit economic suicide by accepting their nonsense. Europe’s industrial economy is finished if they cut off Russian gas. They can’t replace it in that volume at remotely that price.

Europe needs to recognise that the USA is now its mortal economic enemy.

Harry Hotspur
5 months ago
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

Superb!

Glory Costs Too Much
Glory Costs Too Much
5 months ago

Football and politics are inexorably intertwined when it comes to the barbaric invasion of Ukraine, and so it should be. Football is part of life not detached from it. We can’t expect players to face a Russian team in a good natured game of football against the backdrop of genocide in medieval sieges such as are occurring now.
Putin’s war machine is lightweight when push comes to shove. The Taliban fought better. The Russian Bear appears to have a few teeth missing. Blitzkrieg it is NOT. Ponderous, sluggish, apparently poorly trained and using sub standard equipment, and poorly led.
Their invasion was illustrated perfectly by footage taken from a drone showing a single Ukrainian soldier launch a missile into the flank of a tank in an ambush. The utter chaos that ensued amongst the column of fighting vehicles was farcical to watch with men abandoning their vehicles and running in every direction whilst at the same time trying to avoid their comrades tanks veering all over the place and threatening to run them down!
If a single resistance fighter can achieve this result what can the regular Ukraine military achieve?

Archibald&Crooks (SC)
Archibald&Crooks (SC)
5 months ago

I am glad some have veered off politics
I hate reading about Corbyn/McCluntsky and I hate reading about Farage/Rees-Mugg so as a poster has invoked Wales here are my thoughts on Rodon.
Mourinho was playing big Joe a bit and who knows if he stayed.
Then Cone Boy wanted to stick with experience.
Then Nuno wanted to stick with experience and who longs for the Nuno days?
It is Tony I have been disappointed with not playing him a bit more. As I always say he is a great manager but he ain’t the messiah and would like to point out “we ain’t top of the league”.
How many set piece disasters does it take to see that pointing and flapping arms at others doesnt hide the fact the Rock cannot jump he doesn’t have the mental toughness to get his head in where it hurts.I am not even sure Joe has but I would like to see for myself.

Jack
Jack
5 months ago

I think that veering off of politics is actually what this blog post is all about. Whilst we can accept that football does not exist in isolation, there are established pathways to express political views and perhaps players should be using those rather than mixing it with playing football on a pitch.

Eddie
Eddie
5 months ago

Two very good goals from Bale give Wales a victory over Austria.A special mention for Davies and Rodon who were immense at the back in the centre of defence.

David Dillenberg
David Dillenberg
5 months ago
Reply to  Eddie

And yet perversely rugged no nonsense Rodon has been continually harshly overlooked by Conte when IMO he should be paired with Romero. It’s a funny old game!!

Jack
Jack
5 months ago

But we have Dire who is in the form of his life!!!

Eddie
Eddie
5 months ago

Really bizarre.

England Mike
England Mike
5 months ago
Reply to  Eddie

Yes indeed, and when you consider how Rodon has had next to nothing in minutes on the pitch his performance was very good in the circumstances.
Ben was brilliant, Bale was more than fascinating, the goals were unbelievable, mind you it was only Austria.

eddie
eddie
5 months ago
Reply to  England Mike

I must admit watching Austria last night reminded me of us the way they constantly played sideways and backwards.They really were a poor side.If it’s Scotland that they play next it would be difficult to call.

dancingbarber
dancingbarber
5 months ago

Ah….politics…the stuff that rules us all. Most of us are powerless in the wider world unless we combine with others e.g., join a union. Everywhere is a great hypocrisy believing ourselves superior to others. Jamaica wants reparations for the human rights abuses of our forefathers. We decry Russia as a gangster state but cannot face the fact that that’s what started here when you replace oligarchs with Barons.
Live in humility and follow your beliefs accepting not all will follow you.

Marbella Spur
Marbella Spur
5 months ago
Reply to  dancingbarber

John Cleese suggested on an American comedy radio show that we should ask for reparations from the Italians for the Roman invasion and that the French should also have to pay for the Norman conquests. Rather tickled my fancy!

Harry Hotspur
5 months ago
Reply to  Marbella Spur

Brilliant

Marbella Spur
Marbella Spur
5 months ago

In perfect moral world, the World Cup should not be held in Qatar and FIFA should cancel it. Saudis, Russians, Chinese, Qataris should not be allowed to own PL clubs but we all know this will never happen. Our largest shareholder has invested in land in Patagonia whilst denuding the indigenous peoples of the region of their water rights amongst other egregious practices, so our owner is not whiter than white like many other owners but having principled and morally correct owners will never happen. If the England football team withdrew from the World Cup in Qatar, I would wholeheartedly applaud but it won’t happen. We all know that football is corrupt, whether it is FIFA and the likes of Sepp Blatter, UEFA, or the corrupt transfer market with it’s crooked agents but will it ever change?
Sport and politics should not be mixed but sanctions against barbarous regimes who use sport to be integrated and accepted into mainstream
society should be encouraged as at least the eyes of the world are turned onto these regimes In short, principled gestures can be very useful in professional sport but do not happen with sufficient regularity to be meaningful.

JimmyGrievance
JimmyGrievance
5 months ago

Human rights or money… football virtue signals about them on one hand and grabs as much as it can with the other. Players, officials, governing bodies. All exactly the same.

Imagine life if you were the first white player in the PL not to take the knee.

Jimbob
Jimbob
5 months ago
Reply to  JimmyGrievance

Love your handle, but you always manage to get a little dig in there don’t you Jimmy? Your (maybe slight) racism is showing?

Last edited 5 months ago by jjcanty
Harry Hotspur
5 months ago
Reply to  Jimbob

Jimbob, I have no time for this sort of sniping.
Try taking it to your local pub, and can I suggest you get BUPA insurance in place, before you open your daft mouth.

JimmyGrievance
JimmyGrievance
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry Hotspur

Saved me a reply. Not entirely sure where he’s ever read anything I’ve ever written in this blog that constitutes racism even slight. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Jack
Jack
5 months ago
Reply to  JimmyGrievance

Ahhhh! I see your error here. These days the use of the word racism is itself an aggressive trigger which results in being deplatformed. As for mentioning the word white, well doing that means you are a card carrying white supremicist. Context is dead, meaning is only what you want it to be and Billy Shakespeare is banned from some English Literature courses. Oh Brave New World.

JimmyGrievance
JimmyGrievance
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Seems that way. If you don’t agree with let’s say BLM, that automatically makes you a racist. If you don’t agree men saying they’re women and competing in woman’s sports you’re homophobic. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Jack
Jack
5 months ago
Reply to  JimmyGrievance

I do agree with BLM. I do not agree with the transgender movement. So you and I likely agree and disagree on subjects. That is how it should be and as grown adults we can discuss such differences respectfully. That’s the world I think we are losing.

JimmyGrievance
JimmyGrievance
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack

I didn’t say I disagree with BLM. The principal that people should be treated equally goes without saying. Colour is irrelevant. As an organisation as with many, there are areas of it that aren’t about equality of colour or anything to do with it.

My point was, imagine being the first white player not to take the knee specifically in the PL. The woke football liberate would have a field day and most likely end that players career. All the time of course and pertinent to your article the same woke liberate condone the playing of a World Cup in a country with an atrocious human rights record. Whose views on gays ( are we still allowed to say gay ? ) are those of an age long gone.

Money talks, and as I said when there’s enough of it everyone has their respective nose in the trough and conveniently ignores how they come by it.

Harry Hotspur
5 months ago
Reply to  JimmyGrievance

He’s an idiot 🍻

JimmyGrievance
JimmyGrievance
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry Hotspur

🍻

mystic arnold
mystic arnold
5 months ago

I was hoping 2 things would happen re this world cup to embarses the hosts /fifa 1 Israel qualified 2 a major player from one of the serious contenders for the world cup admists that he is gay..

Jack
Jack
5 months ago
Reply to  mystic arnold

Interesting.

Marbella Spur
Marbella Spur
5 months ago
Reply to  mystic arnold

Does the name mystic signify you can forecast the future?

judge
judge
5 months ago

A really thought-provoking comment , Harry [K] would be wise in reading it himself . He is probably not going to forego his place in Qatar , so should be careful when criticising the ‘powers that be’ , they might well come back and bite you on the arse .
But Harry has integrity , he is a rare ego-free young man and there is more than a little of me that applauds him …………..in saying that , Harry be careful what you wish for , God love you son !

England Mike
England Mike
5 months ago

A bit closer to home, P&O Ferries are paying their employees £5.50 p/h, slavery is alive and well here too.

Jack
Jack
5 months ago
Reply to  England Mike

then perhaps we need to be careful about throwing stones?

Paddio
Paddio
5 months ago

What about the unicef ambassador from chingford and his Qatar deal?

Jack
Jack
5 months ago
Reply to  Paddio

Spot on Padio. Bullseye rebuttal.

Paddio
Paddio
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack

I actual agree with your principle. Though more chaos in what players do like say public suggest fans might not buy World Cup merchandise etc etc. of course there would be consequences for the players but if done in enough numbers ie most players in the premiership individual sanctions would be minimal.

Jack
Jack
5 months ago
Reply to  Paddio

Totally with you mate. Answers to problems are always easy but making solutions happen is a whole different thing!

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