Being a football star doesn’t innoculate you from criticism for immoral, ignorant thinking and stupid remarks…
On the one hand, it’s great to see Finns upset with someone -who has sports star status in the country- for supporting the Islamonazi regime of Qatar. On the other hand, where is the outrage over the Finnish political and business community doing business with the Iranian Islamonazi regime? And while I’m at it, I would also add the cushy relationship with Communist China as well.
Litmanen’s human rights issue
Finnish football star Jari Litmanen, known as ‘the king’ for his unrivalled position as the greatest Finnish footballer of all time, has come under fire for his recent positive comments about Qatar’s World Cup in 2022.
Visiting the Middle Eastern emirate during the World Athletics Championships, Litmanen told the organisers’ website that ‘nobody will regret the Qatar World Cup in 2022’, referencing the Qatari success in beating off the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia for the rights to host the world’s biggest football tournament.
The tournament was criticised on the grounds that there are allegations Qatar may have bribed voting delegates to win it, the climate in Qatar is so hot that it could not be played in the summer, the human rights issues around playing in a country that (for instance) criminalises homosexuality, and the forced labour alleged to be involved in building infrastructure in the oil-rich monarchy.
HS publishes an analysis piece arguing that he is ‘morally, no longer really a role model’. The paper lists the problems associated with the bid, including the 1,200 migrant workers believed to have died on construction sites associated with the tournament, and asks ‘what were you thinking, Jari Litmanen?’.
The paper reports that Litmanen told them he went on the trip at the request of a Finnish company but only attended one event with that firm. The rest was a private holiday with his wife, during which he also visited his friend Xavi, who coaches the Qatar national team.
He also declined to take a stand on anything but sporting matters in his interview or the written response to HS.
Finland midfielder Riku Riski was not so reticent last winter when asked to attend a training camp in Qatar. He declined to go for ethical reasons.