I love football so much that watching it is my job – was my World Cup boycott worth it? | Anonymous

nike promo web

new balance
free keto book

When I was growing up, the World Cup always felt like the pinnacle of football. The sticker albums, the wallcharts, the opportunities to relive the greatest moments while having a kickabout with friends. Trying to replicate Ray Houghton’s lofted strike against Italy in 1994; Dennis Bergkamp’s ridiculous pull down and volley against Argentina in 98; or, for when you really didn’t want to be in goal, David Seaman’s desperate backwards flailing against Brazil in 2002.

While I wasn’t a bad player, the dawning realisation that I’d never get close to doing it professionally didn’t diminish my enthusiasm as a fan, or my interest in finding a career related to football. At university, I sat in the press box at Lincoln City covering matches, and eventually found myself working on one of the longest-running and most successful football video games – one I’d played religiously from my early teens.

As part of my job, I essentially get paid to watch and keep up to date with football. I love the stats, the tactics and seeing the next wonderkid become a household name. A World Cup is a brilliant time for the studio. There are matches on every TV in the office, a fantasy football competition and an incredibly convoluted sweepstake. Retro international shirts become the fashion style of choice and every meeting kicks off with conversations about the previous days’ games. Outside work, I’d usually watch matches with friends at the pub or arrange entire weekends committed to watching every single game, sometimes on multiple screens. We’d have WhatsApp groups filled with messages, gifs and the latest hilarious meme.

See also  Tottenham react with FURY to decision to postpone north London derby with Arsenal

But from the beginning, Qatar 2022 felt different. Reading that 17 of 22 Fifa executive members involved in the vote on Qatar’s hosting bid have since been banned or indicted over allegations of corruption cast a dark shadow. It gave me the same sense of helplessness I felt after hearing the lies about Brexit or the PPE VIP lanes during the pandemic. I hated the idea of being somehow complicit by supporting the World Cup – especially one that was reportedly built on the deaths of migrant workers.

When I told my partner that I was considering boycotting the tournament, she said not to concentrate on whether it would make a difference, but to think about what would happen if everyone who felt this way did what I was willing to do. It may just have been that, due to having no interest, she wisely took advantage of an opening to stop lots of football being on TV, but regardless of her motives, I decided to boycott.

See also  Dele Alli is told what he must do to stay in Tottenham's side after impressing in Liverpool draw

I watched nothing – not even the highlights. I scrolled past social media posts and ignored match reports. Being able to work remotely made it easier to miss the games and the excitement building in our office. With my friends, there was a bit of head-scratching at first, but they accepted my decision. Yet I did feel that conversations seemed to tail off when I mentioned I wasn’t watching, like they all felt a bit awkward about it. With my colleagues, I felt a bit embarrassed to admit what I was doing, given so much of what we do revolves around following top-level football.

Now the World Cup is wrapping up, there’s definitely an element of feeling as if I’ve cut off my nose to spite my face. It wasn’t so much England’s journey that I minded missing, but the shocks of Saudi Arabia beating Argentina, Japan turning over Germany and Morocco’s groundbreaking run. One of the hardest things was talking to my dad over the phone. As I’m sure is the case with a lot of parents and their children, one of the main topics of conversation we have is sport. That shared experience was gone because of my choice, and I got the feeling he didn’t really understand why I was doing it.

See also  Ousmane Dembele 'becomes the first Barcelona player to fall foul of Xavi's strict new rules'

What difference can one person make? I’m sure the BBC and ITV won’t miss one viewer, and Fifa have already made millions selling TV rights for the North American World Cup in 2026. Yet I’m proud that I stood by my principles, and would do so again.

I wasn’t completely starved of football. I could still watch Oxford’s League One fixtures via iFollow. However, the less said about the camera work for their goal against Accrington the better. At least I missed England’s draw against the USA and Harry Kane’s penalty.

nike promo web

anti radiation
new balance

Source link

crypto quantum