Geopolitics of Football.

The recent news of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s criticism against “Canada Soccer” for arranging a friendly international match against Iran in Vancouver, reflects on how geopolitics is affecting the game as much as how hypocritical and biased the western politicians are becoming.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the geopolitics of the invasion crept into the world of football. FIFA, the world governing body, under pressure from the west addressed the Russian invasion by suspending Russia and its football clubs from all competitions on February 28, including the ultimate one: the 2022 World Cup tournament in Qatar. The Justification was poor and unprecedented. There was no global and agreed UN resolution of any kind. FIFA never suspended the USA for invading Iraq or Afghanistan and committing genocides in the process.

The non-western world was shocked by such influence of politics on football. while FIFA always enforced its policy against the government and political interference in the game, it has historically tried to avoid geopolitics impacting the sport in principle. However, it is now clear that the game is not played on even grounds.

Nevertheless, the biggest shock that exposed the mentality of prejudice was the western Media’s hypocrisy and double standard. Although nothing to do with football, white reporters kept on highlighting the plight of civilized Ukrainian refugees, with white skin and blue eyes, in such acts of duplicity, prejudice, and downright bias that exposed the inherent bias against non-whites and people of other ethnic groups, races and/or religions. Embracing hate against non-whites, was perhaps subdued and carefully vetted but Ukraine made it flagrantly clear that extreme right and white supremacy is on the rise and sometimes flagrant.

It also highlighted that when it comes to their self-interest, the spirits of Olympics, sports, and others are dumped in the bin.

Russia’s suspension by FIFA was significant for two reasons. First, FIFA historically doesn’t punish countries for intrastate conflicts. Secondly, this is the first time that FIFA sided with boycotters. Moreover, the integration of politics with the World Cup goes beyond the Russian invasion, as the choice of Qatar as the host nation invited a significant backlash.

Normally, it is the role of the United Nations (UN) to sanction countries and member states following the resolution agreed upon. FIFA’s speedy suspension of Russia marks the first time since 1950 that FIFA allowed the intrastate conflict to play a role in its disciplinary decision-making without a prior United Nations (UN) resolution preempting it. Since World War II, most intrastate conflicts haven’t resulted in suspensions from FIFA. Two prominent examples stand out. England and Argentina participated in the Spain World Cup in 1982, despite the UK considering withdrawal during the Falkland War occurring earlier that year. Additionally, Iran and Iraq fought a brutal eight-year war during the 1980s, but FIFA suspended neither nation from the 1982 and 1986 World Cups (with Iraq being the aggressor).

Iran, itself has been condemned umpteen times for mixing politics with sport. Its boycott of the state of Israel is well known in every sport. Its Judo federation was finally suspended due to that. It is fortunate that Iran and Israel are far apart when it comes to football with The Jewish state not qualifying for the World Cup since its only appearance in Mexico in 1970. Can you imagine if Iran refused to play a country it does not recognize in a World Cup?

We have to face reality and that this world is controlled by the mighty powerful and the rich. Equality, human rights, peaceful existence, friendship, and understanding are all slogans that the west preaches to us and will use in their quest to dominate and influence the world. Unfortunately, football has fallen victim to this strategy. A character such as Trudeau, who is a known vehement anti-Iran politician with a special bias against the theocracy of the Mullahs, is part of such domination strategy and thus feels obliged to express his objection against a football match!

Fortunately, Canada is a democratic society where one person cannot dictate his whims or rules without the consent of the parliament. That cannot be said of Iran, of course.

And hence, Canada vs Iran match in Vancouver is on and 95% of the tickets have already been sold. Take that!