The Margin: Qatar World Cup backlash is an important moment for soccer, says ESPN’s Shaka Hislop

by | Nov 23, 2022 | Stock Market

The furor surrounding the World Cup in Qatar has seen the plight of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ rights in the tiny Persian Gulf nation thrust firmly into the world spotlight. For ESPN commentator and former World Cup star Shaka Hislop, the backlash is an important moment for the sport. “History provides these moments that we have to make the most of,” he said during a MarketWatch-hosted event Wednesday. “While we have recognized the impact that the game can have, the change that the game can have, this is a moment we should make the most of in recognizing that football represents all.”

Controversy continues to swirl around the tournament. After FIFA clamped down on plans for a number of team captains to wear “One Love” armbands promoting LGBTQ+ rights, the German team protested Wednesday by covering their mouths with their hands during a team photo before their game against Japan. “Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice,” the German national team said on Twitter, with a photo of the protest. “We stand by our position,” it added.

See: Qatar World Cup controversy means sponsors are walking a tightrope Hislop is a former goalkeeper for Newcastle and West Ham in England’s Premier League and played for Trinidad and Tobago in that country’s World Cup debut in 2006. He is also a founding member and honorary president of the anti-racism organization Show Racism the Red Card. The ESPN commentator highlighted what he described as “the symbiotic nature” of anti-discrimination efforts, encompassing race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. “All those things are very closely tied, and this may be the moment that we as a football-loving public, as a majority who believes in equality, comes to recognize how closely they are linked. And how we cannot call for an end to racism without at the same time working every bit as diligently around the end to LGBTQ discrimination, an end to sexism, an end to Islamophobia.” The controversial nature of the Qatar World Cup has also thrown up multiple challenges for sponsors, according to Jim Andrews, founder and CEO of A-Mark Partnership Strategies, which provides sponsorship guidance to companies. “The sponsors are kind of caught between their love for the game, their desire to support the game, support the fans, but in order to do that, they have to be aligned, right now, with FIFA and with the Organizing Committee in Qatar,” he said. “That has put them between a rock and a hard place.” See: British band the Farm blocks McDonald’s from using hit song in Qatar World Cup ad “ …

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