FIFA Does It’s Job By Focusing On The Game

(St. Louis – June 8, 2010)
By Jeremy Clements

2010 FIFA World Cup logo
Image via Wikipedia

The 2010 World Cup is now just a couple days away. The teams have all reached South Africa, fans across the world have come together to support their teams. Even people on Facebook can make it clear who they support during the spectacle that is the FIFA World Cup.

But not everyone is happy. Some believe that certain countries shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the World Cup even if they qualify.

Those people, while entitled to their opinions, are wrong.

It is not the responsibility of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) to punish countries based on their government or if the actions of certain nations reflect humanitarianism. FIFA is the governing body for soccer, not the world. If a country is to be punished for poor international relations, let those sanctions come from the governing body responsible for them, the United Nations.

FIFA is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, focusing on the game and not punishing athletes because of the actions of their government leaders. So let’s put all our differences aside, as we do during the Olympics, and just enjoy this friendly competition on the international stage that is the World Cup.

The commercial below pretty much says it all.


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9 responses to “FIFA Does It’s Job By Focusing On The Game

  1. North Korea isn’t guilty of simple “poor international relations”. You make it sound as if they are merely isolationists who choose not to participate in the global community. They are guilty of the systematic abuse and murder of their own people (and those of other countries as well) on the most massive level.

    Disallowing North Korea from participating wouldn’t be a “punishment”, it would be a reflection of values. Humanitarian values which FIFA promotes on their own documents.

    You got sold by that hypocrite Bono and a slick marketing campaign, combined with a misguided sense of fairness. “C’mon, let everyone play!”

    If you were in a flag football league, would you and your leaguemates let OJ Simpson join it?

  2. North Korea may not care what the UN says or does. And I’m not saying the UN needs to be one to step in and keep them from participating in sports tournaments.

    I am saying that if anything is going to be done, having them banned from sports by FIFA, the IOC, and other governing bodies doesn’t really prove much of anything in my opinion. North Korea is far from a world power in sports anyways. The athletes of North Korea should not be punished for the mistakes made by their incompetent government leaders.

    • You feel excluding them wouldn’t prove anything, I think it would. Agree to disagree on that, that’s fine.

      But I still can’t look at it any other way than that of rewarding bad behavior. By allowing them to participate, you’re basically condoning their actions as OK. Maybe it’s not FIFA’s responsibility, but I think they have a moral obligation.

      The whole attitude of “let’s put all our differences aside” and have a “friendly competition” is highly misguided and narrow. You’re seriously OK with defining humankind’s issues with North Korea as mere “differences”?
      If at the other end of the street where you lived, there was a house that enslaved kids in a forced prostitution ring – you’d just have “differences” with the people involved? Not only would you not invite them to the summer block party in an effort to be “friendly”, you wouldn’t let your kids play outside at all.

      You didn’t answer my OJ question, so let’s take it a step further, to a scenario that is entirely possible. Say over the next decade, the Taliban takes complete control over Afghanistan. They give al-Qaeda carte blanche, to the point that it’s clear that bin Laden is running the show there. Say the US is hosting the World Cup in 2022. Afghanistan qualifies. You’re cool with letting them in?

      • I am not condoning their actions as ok and I don’t think FIFA is either. However, it isn’t FIFA’s job to step in here and be the judge about a nation’s actions off the field. If they were to keep North Korea out, what about Serbia and the Ivory Coast? Both of those countries have had less than acceptable moral behaviors in the past. So what would the requirements be for a nation to be eligible as far as off the field things go?

        The idea of lets put our differences aside is called acceptance. I think the whole world, or atleast the tolerant nations accept people of all colors and creeds. The United States is full of people who put their difference aside and live together in harmony every day. The Olympic spirit that is embraced by the majority of the world echoes that idea. It’s not about our differences. It’s about the spirit of competition. That’s how FIFA looks at the World Cup in my opinion.

        The idea of a house at the end of my street being home to a prostitution ring is a bit extreme. Those circumstances are very different. But of course I would not accept them. That is illegal. So not only would I not let my kids outside but I would do everything I could to stop that activity.

        And I didn’t address the OJ thing earlier because I don’t want to get onto another tangent. But I will address it now. If I was in a flag football league and OJ wanted to play I don’t see why we wouldn’t let him play. His past is scarred, thats not something I won’t argue. But we’re talking about football. If he wanted to play I wouldn’t be against letting him play.

        And now to your Afghan scenario. That is a very hard situation. Knowing this countries relationship with Afghanistan I would be a bit hesitant to let them in. But in order to stay consistent here I will say this. Let them in. We’d have spent millions, if not billions, on security. So you’d go through things with a fine tooth comb. As long as they pass inspections and things like that, let them play.

  3. “what would the requirements be for a nation to be eligible as far as off the field things go?”

    That was the point of my post, that there should be a line at some point. You can’t pre-define the line, you just have to make decisions based on the evidence at the time. You personally don’t believe there should be any line. OK. Let the record reflect that you are for the “acceptance” of brutal, murderous regimes (or individuals) in terms of admittance to atheletic competition – the “spirit” of which trumps any and all transgressions. I personally find that abhorrent.

    “The idea of a house at the end of my street being home to a prostitution ring is a bit extreme. Those circumstances are very different. But of course I would not accept them. That is illegal. So not only would I not let my kids outside but I would do everything I could to stop that activity.”

    So what North Korea does to it’s people is NOT illegal, just because they are not breaking their own countries laws? What about the idea of natural law, which is a principal underlying theory of the Declaration of Independance? “All men are created equal.” Babies don’t have a choice to be born into America or North Korea. We’re all humans. You are essentially saying that you’re pro-humanitarian when the problem is in your neighborhood – but when it’s on the other side of the planet, eh, we have to be accepting of differences.

    “The athletes of North Korea should not be punished for the mistakes made by their incompetent government leaders.”

    The US government is “incompetent”. Kim Jong-Il is a despot, a dictator and a tyrant. Simply describing the leadership of North Korea as “incompetent” is way too lenient and irresponsbile. And I actually consider the athletes of North Korea to be just as complicit as their leaders. The athletes have basic privileges that the common folks don’t, they have seen the world and what freedom vs oppression looks like. Yeah, they’ve all been brainwashed and fear for their lives, but at some point it becomes obvious (and North Korea passed that point long ago) where a people must rise above fear and claim their liberty for themselves, even if it costs them their own lives. “Give me liberty or give me death” isn’t an American credo, it’s a human one. If there was a serious and legitimate revolutionary / reform movement in North Korea (like there is in say, Iran), I’d be all for their participation in the World Cup and Olympics.

    Thanks for the debate (and the link), I’ve said my say. Peace.

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