Miguel Coley (assistant coach at Qatar’s Umm Salal)
The controversy is not new. However, the temperature has gone out the roof as the starting of the World Cup got closer. I believe Qatar has made a lot of improvements to the conditions of workers, especially those who are working on the development of thecountry’s infrastructure at the basic level. Many persons were indeed surprised that the World Cup was to be played in Qatar. I guess it’s a story of dare to dream? Call it what you may, they are prepared. The World Cup has started and so far they are doing a great job. The stadiums are fantastic, the train system is immaculate and efficient, traffic flowing on the roads, and people are enjoying peacefully in the spirit of the game. So far the controversy doesn’t seem to be affecting the teams. But that is not to say it’s brushed under the surface either, but they seem to be fully focused on doing well for their respective teams. I have been to two games so far, and the atmosphere is amazing, the fan festivals are wellorganised and fun, and the diversity of the World Cupis very evident. Football, despite an emblem of peace and hope, is often rattled with controversies at critical points in its history. Let’s enjoy the World Cup and be united.
Damion Lowe (Inter Miami, 49 caps for Jamaica)
In the beginning it was a distraction, from an administrative standpoint, but when it comes to the players, it is all about what happens on the field once that opening whistle blows.
Andrew Price (coach and marketing specialist)
It is what it is. They were selected democratically by the majority of member nations of Fifa who voted to give themthe tournament. There will always be controversy in the selection of host, as every country and region wants the lucrative opportunity to host. The show must go on and all the plans are in place and the teams are raring to go. People just have to understand that they will have to observe the laws of the country or face the penalties. When you are in Rome you have to do what the Romans do. Feeling a bit sorry for the individuals who will be unable to consume alcohol in the stadia. But rules are rules. The players are professionals and will get on with job at hand. The distraction will be minimal, if any.
Tanya Lee Perkins (athlete manager & head of LEEP Marketing)
It’s a massive disappointment that Qatar has been awarded the World Cup, a country where women have to seek male permission to study, work, travel, marry, divorce, reproduce or even play football. While unacceptable levels of corruption continue to dog FIFA, I don’t think this will be a major distraction for the players. Football is a unifying force and the teams will take centre stage globally until that trophy is lifted on December 18.