For Gianni Infantino, President of the International Football Association, the new sporting year began before New Year's Eve - in the country where part of the sport discussions in 2022 will focus: in Qatar. The FIFA boss visited the country two weeks ago, 365 days to the day before the World Cup kicked off there. The emirate had ordered Formula 1 to Lusail for the first time. There, in front of the gates of the capital Doha, the final of the soccer World Cup will be played on December 18, 2022, the fourth Advent, in the Lusail Iconic Stadium. It will be the end of a sporting year in which the global public will look more closely than seldom before on what is happening outside of the competitions and sports facilities, on power, abuse and human rights. In Qatar,at the World Cup, and months earlier, at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Christoph Becker

Sports editor.

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The Qatarians took advantage of the Formula 1 race to cross-market their events.

So Infantino had the World Cup trophy with him.

The World Cup sparkled a little brighter in the pictures because the start of the race was wisely set in the Arabian night.

It will be the principle of this soccer World Cup: what glitters glitters a little more beautifully in the Qatari darkness.

And what doesn't glitter is not discovered so quickly.

The suffering of those who make the tournament possible

On the same evening that Infantino held the World Cup trophy in the cameras, the ARD-Sportschau presented a document from the Qatari building planning authority Ashghal, in which it says that "all superfluous guest workers" should leave the country between September 21, 2022 and September 18, 2022. Left January 2023. There will hardly be a day before the start of the World Cup without discussing the situation and the suffering of those who make this tournament possible: the migrant workers from the poorer parts of Asia and Africa. The sponsors of the Danish national team, for example, have announced that they will not have their lettering printed on the training clothing worn by the players in Qatar - the free space should be used for critical messages.

Just a few hours after Gianni Infantino had himself photographed with his trophy, two Norwegian journalists made their way home from Qatar after their work was done. They were taken into custody at Doha Airport. The authorities accused them of trespassing while filming, and they were released after 30 hours. The Norwegian Government, the Norwegian Football Association and five Northern European football associations expressed their horror at FIFA. It was trusted that FIFA would do its utmost to keep its promise to respect universal human rights. "We had hoped that FIFA would react more," said the Finnish association president Ari Lahti.

Infantino had told the Qatari sports broadcaster BeIN Sports at the racetrack that everything was so emotional a year before the World Cup.

“It is so important that this country shows how hospitable it is, how great it will be to celebrate together here.” A few days later, when the Norwegians were arrested in diplomatic circles, Qatar's ambassador in Berlin announced the incident was "quite regrettable and avoidable".

And in those same days, the boardroom of FC Bayern Munich embarrassed itself when trying to keep the debate initiated by its own fans about sponsorship by the state-owned Qatar Airways out of the annual general meeting.

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