Under the zealous expectations of fans across the globe, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 officially kicked off on Sunday. Whichever team among the 32 from all over the world finally lifts the FIFA World Cup Trophy will affect the moods of fans in the coming month. The charm of football will also transcend national borders, races and religions to light up the sparks of emotions and values shared by the world in the fields of play.
In the past four years since the last World Cup, great changes have taken place in the world. Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, international sports events have been greatly reduced, and exchanges between countries and regions have been hindered. At the same time, geopolitics and ideologies have become rampant in areas where they should not have getting involved in the first place. The more such a situation is, the more the world needs the World Cup and the sportsmanship embodied by the World Cup. From this point of view, the meaning of the World Cup is first of all the "world," then the "cup." As FIFA President Gianni Infantino said, football is not just a sport, its cultural value and influence can unite the world.
Modern football originated in Europe, gradually spread to the rest of world and developed into the world's largest sport today. This in itself is a proof of the success of globalization. The World Cup, the most prestigious football tournament in the world, well reflects this point. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the World Cup has successively entered Japan, South Korea, South Africa, and Russia, achieving multiple historic breakthroughs. Now the World Cup has come to Qatar and created many "firsts" again: The first time it is held in the northern hemisphere in winter; the first time it is organized in a Middle Eastern country; the first time that female referees officiate matches at the men's World Cup; and the first time that semi-automated offside technology will be used. Each and every "first" witnesses the advancement of human technology and civilization. The history of the World Cup has merged into the history of human civilization, and football, the small ball, is driving the big ball of the globe.
From the moment that the right to host the World Cup was won by Qatar 12 years ago, Qatar and the whole Arab world have had strong expectations for the tournament. In order to host the World Cup successfully, Qatar has made a lot of efforts, investing more than $220 billion in related infrastructure, which exceeded the country's 2021 GDP. It also makes this World Cup the most expensive one in history. This kind of sincerity itself is worthy of respect and blessing. The Middle East is a rising force in football. It is believed that Qatar, as the first country in the region to host the World Cup, will show the world far more than football - it will also display the world more customs and splendors belonging to the civilization of the country and the region, which will promote communications, mutual learning and understanding among different civilizations.
But regrettably, some people in the US and the West have turned a blind eye to Qatar's efforts. Instead, they once again brought up the so-called human rights and other issues to criticize Qatar, and even tried to set off a wave of "diplomatic boycott." Therefore, this year's World Cup is considered the "most politicized" World Cup. Even French President Emmanuel Macron's fair words that "Sports should not be politicized" have triggered criticism from some people in the West. Listen again to FIFA President Gianni Infantino's tirade against this vulgar tactic: "What we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons."
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 officially kicked off on Sunday. Photo: VCG
As the top global sports event, the World Cup will once again vividly show the fair competitions, respect for opponents on the field, and handshakes outside the field. It will tell the world that, even in the cruel "you lose, I win" competitions, there is still the possibility of respect, friendship and mutual progress. This is the fundamental reason why it is unpopular everywhere to politicize and instrumentalize sports events. The World Cup and the sportsmanship it embodies are an important part of the common values of all mankind, which should be vigorously promoted rather than tarnished. As expressed in the three theme songs of this year's event, "Hayya Hayya," "Arhbo" and "Light the Sky," unity is always more affectionate than division and various faiths and cultures can mingle around the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
For China, in 1978, state broadcaster CCTV broadcast the World Cup for the first time, which opened a door for the Chinese people. From radios, black-and-white TVs, color TVs to computers and mobile phones, the World Cup witnessed not only the fiery passion of Chinese fans, but also China's firm steps toward the world. From the Lusail Stadium, which will host the final game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to the 1,500 new-energy buses, from the communication and network equipment of the stadium to the World Cup souvenirs and cultural shirts that can be seen everywhere in the streets and alleys... Although the Chinese team failed to make it to the World Cup in Qatar, "Chinese elements" can be seen everywhere. The two giant pandas from China in the panda pavilion in Qatar also convey the best wishes of the Chinese people for the World Cup.
Football is round. When the game ball named "Journey" starts to spin, countless people's moods will also fluctuate accordingly, and what people feel from it is not only the speed and intensity of sports games, but also the depth and breadth of human communication.
Main photo: The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 officially kicked off on Sunday © VCG.
Source: The Global Times.