Student Opinion: Streaker Further Exacerbates World Cup Controversy

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By: Nicolas Cital 

On November 28, a man (Mario Ferri) streaked across the soccer field during the World Cup game between Portugal and Uruguay. Mario ran with a pride flag and shirt saying “Save Ukraine” on the front and “Respect for Iranian Women” on the back. He was soon escorted off the field, allowing the game to continue. Though he was detained, he has reportedly been let go without consequences despite the standard five years in prison for stirring up public opinion. FIFA has since denied making any kind of clarification or comments on the situation.

 

For the most part, it’s easy to dismiss streakers and other pitch invasions as an annoying distraction to the game being played, however, in this instance, such actions have helped to continue bringing awareness to important issues occurring in the world today. As it stands, the war in Ukraine continues to rage on and Iran has yet to either capitulate to the protestors or finally put a full stop to them. It’s certainly praiseworthy that Mario was willing to take on the risk of doing such a bold act despite the threat of jail time, and remains a miracle that he faced no consequences. His actions helped to continue highlighting the controversy surrounding 2022’s World Cup.

 

This year’s World Cup has been stewed in some controversy due to its host country Qatar. Many were uncomfortable because Qatar contains many stringent laws regarding LGBT individuals, including censoring discussions on LGBT topics. Even those entering stadiums sporting rainbow-colored items have had them confiscated on entry.

 

This issue is certainly something that has given many, including myself, quite a bit of thought and has raised conflicting opinions. On one hand, I can understand the importance of respecting another country’s laws and culture. However, how much respect can you give when that country doesn’t respect the individuality and rights of certain people? I can still plainly say that I strongly believe their laws are wrong, but I recognize that I can’t impose my will on other people, nor will the country have a sudden change of heart overnight. I can only hope that over time, things will change for the better and that the laws are changed or removed entirely.

 

FIFA and seven captains from other European countries came under fire as well. Before the World Cup began, FIFA created a new directive banning the captains from sporting rainbow armbands during their matches. Many were angered by this news, so much so that anger was directed toward the captains and football associations. Promises were initially made by the players to wear the armbands in protest of Qatar’s unjust laws. However, with the warning that players wearing any kind of armband would receive a yellow card, they all backed down from their promise. People took to the internet by storm, voicing their displeasure at the players so quickly throwing aside their principles,

 

Actions, as always, speak louder than words. It’s disappointing that the players didn’t stay true to their word and stick to their principles. It shows that their priorities are toward the game and the team. While I respect their decision, I still heavily disagree with it. We live and die by our principles; to see them say one thing, and do another, is disheartening.

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