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The Qatar debate does not go far enough

Of course we can watch.

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The Qatar debate does not go far enough

Of course we can watch. We've kept it that way for years.

Before the first competition took place in Sochi in 2014, and the first slope was skied on, hundreds of workers had already died on Olympic construction sites; how Russia dealt with freedom of the press and freedom of sexual self-determination was well known. It was four years later when the World Cup was held in Russia. In the meantime, the country had annexed Crimea in violation of international law, and there had been a poisoning attack on an ex-agent in England.

Because of the good atmosphere, a few freedoms were granted for the games that were no longer common in Russia, but only temporarily, of course. Everyone knew that was cosmetic. A whole handbook was published on the human rights violations they dealt with there.

But they didn't bother the Olympic Committee either, when it awarded the 2021 Winter Games, which took place a year later due to the pandemic, to China, where the 2008 Summer Games had also taken place.

Awarding sports events to non-democratic states that systematically violate human rights and freedom has long been the norm rather than the exception. The calls for a boycott are as expected as the allegations of double standards that follow.

Skipping a football game, not watching a competition and at the same time cheering for clubs financed by Qatar, other Emirates or some oligarchs for the rest of the year, shaping everyday life with products made in China and heating with – no longer Russian gas.

What it means to depend on unfree regimes is no longer just a hunch. We can no longer hold it the way we have held it for years.

The games were awarded to these countries by hopelessly corrupt sports federations, which should never have happened. The question that they obviously don't care about, we all have to ask ourselves now at the latest: Who do we do business with? It is a question that is as banal as it is crucial and now needs an answer if the word "turning point in time" is meant seriously.

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