WFC Qatar 2022: footballers’ activism, human rights and reflections on events that occurred during the final award ceremony


  • David Grassi


WFC, Qatar 2022, sport, activism, ceremonial


With an eye to the applicable sporting regulations and considering what has been written in two previous articles by the same author, some specific events that took place on the FIFA World Cup, hosted in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December 2022, will be examined. The efficacy and effectiveness of the rules governing the right of athletes to express themselves on the playing field and respect for the ceremonial on the podium will be discussed for the purposes of the strategic intentions of leaving a positive social legacy in the host country and for all fans. It will be concluded that controversial and even divisive attitudes continue to occur, even with good intentions and in creative forms sometimes consistent with the regulations, which can modify the effectiveness of events in promoting friendship, respect for the diversity of cultures and points of view. On the one hand, the rules protect the rightful prerogatives of event owners, relieved of responsibilities they cannot have. On the other hand, there is room for the creativity of activists, avoiding that their expectations are completely stifled and that there are unnecessary restrictions on their behavior. There is a dynamic balance which, even with conflicting opinions, has not prevented up to know to continue to gather the whole world through the unifying passion aroused by sporting events.


Download data is not yet available.


Grassi D. Olympic Rule 50 and political neutrality: is it time for a turning point? Olimpianos - Journal of olympic studies Olimpianos. 2022;6(1):188-214. doi: 10.30937/2526-6314.v6.id160

IFAB. Law 4 The Players’ equipment [cited 2023 jan 07]. Available frrom:

Wintour P. Fears grow Iran players may face reprisals for not singing national anthem [cited 2022 dec 17]. 2022. Available from:,in%20police%20custody%20in%20September

Kiley S. Iran threatened families of national soccer team, according to security source [cited 2022 dec 17]. 2022. Available from:

Debre I. Iranian World Cup team refuses to sing national anthem amid protests at home [cited 2023 jan 07] 2022. Available from:

Toi Staff. Iran team sings anthem at World Cup after previously staying silent amid protests [cited 2023 jan 07]. 2023. Available from:

Grassi D. Olympic sport does not ban Russian and Belarusian athletes (although there may be signs of change), Olimpianos - Journal of Olympic Studies. 2021;6(1):60-92. doi: 10.30937/2526-6314.v6.id154.

Dittmore S, Kim K. Nationalistic media obsession with Olympic medal counts: the case of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living 2022:4:848071. doi:10.3389/fspor.2022.848071.

Cerullo I. What does kneeling stand for? [cited 2022 dec 27]. 2020. Available from:

Grierson B. Athlete protests, “Rule 50” and China’s collision course with the Beijing Olympics [cited 2022 apr 19]. 2021. Available from:

Panja T, Draper K. U.S. says FIFA officials were bribed to award World Cups to Russia and Qatar [cited 2023 jan 10. 2020. Available from: Sustainability has been at the heart of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 from the very start [cited 2023 jan 10. Available from:

Boykoff J. The World Cup In Qatar is a climate catastrophe [cited 2023 january 10]. 2022. Available from:

Sullivan B. Why Qatar is a controversial host for the World Cup [cited 2023 jan 10]. 2022. Available from:

HRW. Qatar: rights abuses stain FIFA World Cup [cited 2022 dec 17]. 2022. Available from:

Aljazeera. Qatar rejects Amnesty report on ‘unexplained’ labourer deaths [cited 2022 dec 17. 2021. Available from:

Human Rights Watch. Human Rights guide for reporters 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar [cited 2022 dec 17]. 2022. Available from:

Walter JD, Ford M. Human Rights Qatar - fact check: how many people died for the Qatar World Cup? [cited 2022 dec 21]. 2022. Available from:

ILO. Occupational safety and health - ILO publishes report on work-related deaths and injuries in Qatar [cited 2022 dec 21]. 2022. Available from:

Pradhan B, Kjellstrom T, Atar D, Sharma P, Kayastha B, Bhandari G, Pradhan, PK. Heat stress impacts on cardiac mortality in nepali migrant workers in Qatar. Cardiology. 2022:143(1):37-48. doi:10.1159/000500853.

Mednicoff D. The World Cup puts the spotlight on Qatar, but also brings attention to its human rights record and politics – 4 things to know [cited 2022 dec 21]. 2022. Available from:

FIFA. Update from FIFA of the recommendations of the FIFA human rights advisory board. 2018. Available from:

IOC. IF sustainability project FIFA World Cupr 2022 sustainability strategy. Lausanne: IOC; 2020.

Griesbach JW. Summer Olympic Games hosting infrastructure requirements: still too big for most of the world? [tesis]. University of Peloponnese. Sparta: University of Peloponnese; 2021.

IOC. IOC sustainability strategy moving forward. Lausanne: IOC; 2019.

Grassi D. Boycotts of Moscow 1980 & Los Angeles 1984: two different approaches - Same result. Short essay. 2021. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.20182.73283.

Grassi D. Levaraging mega events. Olimpianos - Journal of Olympic Studies. 2023;7:43-52. doi: 10.30937/2526-6314.v7.id17.

Mallinder L, Slye R. Rethinking peace and justice. Barcelona: Institute For Integrate transition; 2019. Available from:

IHL. Practice relating to Rule 104. Respect for convictions and religious practices [cited 2023 jan 08]. 2023. Available from:

FIFA. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Development of the sustainability strategy. Lausanne: FIFA; 2020.

O’Rourke A, Theodoraki E. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 sustainability strategy: human rights governance in the tripartite network. Frontiers in sports and active living. 2022:4:809984. doi:10.3389/fspor.2022.809984.

IOC. The unifying power of the Olympic Games to bring the world together in peaceful competition [cited 2023 jan 07]. 2022. Available from:

Grohmann K. Germany players cover mouths in team photo amid armband row [cited 2022 dec 17]. 2022. Available from:

Guy E. The human rights highlighted by the Football World Cup [cited 2023 jan 08]. 2023. 2022. Available from:

IOC. Olympic Charter. Lausanne: IOC; 2021.

Wintour P. Germany agrees 15-year liquid gas supply deal with Qatar [cited 2023 jan 11]. 2022. Available from:

Kelly F. Qatar signs agreement allowing NATO use of Al-Udeid Air Base [cited 2023 jan 11]. 2019. Available from:

Noble J. Qatar expands football interests after buying stake in Portuguese team [cited 2023 jan 11]. 2022. Available from:

FIFA. FIFA partner with United Nations agencies to run social campaigns during World Cup [cited 2023 jan 11]. 2022. Available form:

Decisionlab. Why do we follow the behavior of others? Social Norms [cited 2022 dec 30]. 2022. Available from:

Downie A. Brazil’s improbable journey to win the 1970 World Cup [cited 2023 jan 05]. 2022. Available from:

Jennings R. Lionel Messi was right to wear this?! [cited 2022 dec 23]. 2022. Available from:, FIFA World Cup 2022 - Martinez slammed for Golden Glove celebration Martinez was seen making a gesture after winning the golden glove trophy for the best goalkeeper at the tournament [cited 2023 jan 05]. 2022. Available from:

Downie A, Araujo G. Soccer star Pele, Brazilian legend of the beautiful game, dies at 82 [cited 2023 jan 2]. 2022. Available from:

FIFA. The final highlights [cited 2023 jan 04]. 2018. Available from:

FIFA. More than half the world watched record-breaking 2018 World Cup [cited 2023 jan 05]. 2018. Available from:

FIFA. Regulations FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Lausanne: FIFA; 2022. Available from:

FIFA. Equipment regulations. Lausanne: FIFA; 2022. Available from:

Sayegh N. Palestine and the limits of free speech in Germany [cited 2022 dec 28]. 2022. Available from:

DFB_Team. Armband or no armband we stand by our position. [cited 2022 dec 28]. 2022. Available from: Vergleich mit Pelés Sombrero - Arabische Welt verwundert über Empörung wegen Messi-Gewand [cited 2022 dec 23]. 2022. Available from:

Nordmann T. FIFA und der Emir kapern Messi - Die schmierige Schlusspointe dieser WM [cited 2022 dec 23]. 2022. Available from:

Bedürftig VD, Uersfeld S. Geisterstadien und Arbeiterelend - Jetzt entzieht sich Katar wieder den Scheinwerfern. [cited 2022 dec 23]. 2022. Available from:

Uersfeld VS. Ein Spiel, das unzerstörbar ist - Im besten WM-Finale aller Zeiten triumphiert der Fußball [cited 2022 dec 23]. 2022. Available from: “Eine Schweigeminute” argentinier verspotten unglücklichen Mbappé [cited 2022 dec 23]. 2022. Available from:

Aljazeera. Mahsa Amini’s death sparks anger towards Iran’s morality police [cited 2023 jan 07]. 2022. Available from:






Original Article