Fifa World Cup row: Lib Dem members say no to Qatar but split on 2022 boycott

by Stephen Tall on December 18, 2014

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what our sample of Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 747 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Yesterday, Fifa’s independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia quit in protest over the handling of his report into bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Here’s what Lib Dem members had to say about Fifa in our latest survey…

Do you think the 2022 football FIFA World Cup should go ahead in Qatar, or should it be hosted elsewhere?

    9% – The 2022 World Cup should go ahead in Qatar

    70% – The decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be scrapped, and it should be hosted elsewhere

    21% – Don’t know

A pretty definitive view, there — here are some of your comments:

• It should never have been awarded to Qater – FIFA is a mess and needs a block of countries to threaten to withdraw from it.
• Don’t care about football and footballism.
• The evidence that has been collated by enquiry as disclosed, states unequivocally that there was corruption in securing QUATAR`s votes and thereby the decision for them to hold the World Cup in 20122 should be revoked.
• World Cup in the tropics in summer is suicidal or even murderous. Re-arranging all the world’s leagues to have it later or sooner is plain stupid. Somehow FIFA must be brought to book. UEFA pulling out would be a good start, surely this could be achieved with the use of good diplomatic skills from well-qualified persons?
• If we are serious about getting it out of Qatar, we must suggest a host other than ourselves.
• The bid was manifestly corrupt. The self-serving report by FIFA is Kafka-esque.
• Their decision to host the World Cup in Qatar is disappointing considering the country’s poor human rights record, particularly regarding LGBT* people.
• Ridiculous weather and conditions to hold it, and why on earth we go somewhere where they don’t even PLAY football… Well, we all know why, don’t we.
• Who cares, this has got nothing to do with the government. If fifa want to be corrupt let them.
• FIFA have made a complete mockery of the investigation into the bids. They have whitewashed the whole thing. The Qataris are treating the workforce very badly. The World cup should not be played in a place where people have died in building the stadia. It is also too hot to play the game.
• FIFA is totally corrupt but it seems impossible to do anything about this.
• Is this really a serious political issue?
• Corruption should be tackled.
• The way this decision was reached does not seem to have been above board. We should have no part in corrupt international bodies anyway.
• Qatar human rights abuses make it unfit to be host.
• Playing a running about game in temperatures which are too hot for running about is silly …
• We can’t pick and choose which international sports bodies decisions we like.
• The decision is flawed: it is simply not sensible to hold a major world competition in a country where the summer temperatures may reach 50 degrees Celsius. The decision was money-driven and stinks of corruption: seemingly no regard has been paid to the health requirements of the competitors.

We then asked…

If the 2022 World Cup goes ahead in Qatar, do you think the UK’s national football teams should take part, or should they boycott the competition?

    36% – Take part

    38% – Boycott

    26% – Don’t know

A much more divided result, with those having a view pretty evenly split between saying our national teams should boycott the Fifa World Cup in 2022 and those saying we should take part. Again, here are some of your views…

• Neither is ideal; Olympic boycotts in ’80 and ’84 were hardly effective. Neither though is participation in an event that raises billions for the corrupt. Leave the call to the experts in the field at the appropriate time, don’t become The Man In The Pub and pontificate from ignorance far in advance.
• There should be a Europe wide boycott.
• I understand that World Cups are the pinnacle for footballers, and would be sad if it came to that – but someone has to take a stand against FIFA corruption. I would favour the FA lobbying hard for other major nations to join us in a boycott. It would only take two or three to totally discredit the tournament.
• I won’t watch it anyway
• Boycott, if others do the same.
• Sport should be above this kind of bribery and corruption beyond the enquiry…..
• We’re not going to win. We’ve just hosted the Olympics so we’re not in need of a global sporting event. Why be unprincipled chumps and play in a competition we’ve so publicly derided?
• It’s only football – but the World Cup venue choice was the most corrupt decision I’ve ever witnessed
• British teams should not act alone (or just with each other) which would either be pointless, or exploit the situation to “win”.
• Needs to be a global boycott (cf South Africa 1970s); token boycotts (1976 / 1980 Olympics) etc don’t change anything.
• Boycotts are a futile gesture when used for purely political reasons.
• it hardly matters they’ll coming home soon enough anyway
• If Qatar is ‘cleared’ to host the 2022 World Cup, the UK’s teams have no justification to boycott it
• A lone boycott is stupid. A large boycott would be good.
• Players have worked hard to achieve their dream of playing in a world cup. A boycott punishes them, not FIFA.
• However, they need to train for an event in that heat and climate and to have the right level of medical support on hand.
• Boycotting is likely to be less effective than going out there but making a point of highlighting problems. (e.g, by wearing #RainbowLaces)
• It’s a game of football for goodness’ sake.

  • 1,500+ Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 747 completed the latest survey, which was conducted between 22nd and 26th November.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. The surveys are, though, the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country.
  • We have been able to test the LibDemVoice surveys against actual results on a handful of occasions. It correctly forecast the special Lib Dem conference would overwhelmingly approve the Coalition Agreement in May 2010. In the 2008 and 2010 elections for Lib Dem party president, it correctly predicted the winner. However, in the 2014 election it didn’t; see here for my thoughts on this.
  • Polling expert Anthony Wells has written about the reliability/validity of LibDemVoice surveys here.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.