I think it was Clint Eastwood who once said ‘Opinions are like arseholes- everybody has one.’ So here is mine – my opinion that is.I don’t think Qatar should have been awarded the 2022 World Cup Finals for a whole host of reasons – but mostly football and climatic. I also think that Qatar have a lot of questions to answer when it comes to alleged human rights violations but sadly so do a helluva lot of other countries on this planet and the UK cosies up to most of them, trades with them and quite possibly sells weapons to some of them. So why single out Qatar?

There has never been any consistency of approach on the issue of human rights to the extent that we invited the likes of the USSR and East Germany over to Scotland to play friendly matches whilst saying next to nothing about the murderous activities of the Secret Police in those countries. And just for good measure we also played friendlies against Franco’s fascist Spain. I won’t even bother elaborating on South America [aka MilitaryJuntasWereUs].

We should also maybe take a long, hard look in the mirror and reflect on our own track record on human rights in recent decades. I would suggest that we’re not always the good guys that we like to think we are.A possible boycott of either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup Finals is perhaps worthy of a separate debate however and it brings to mind an excellent book by Jon Spurling entitled ‘Death or Glory – The dark history of the World Cup’ which highlights some of the extremes that Governments will go to in order to achieve ‘success’ at international football and includes our old friend Zaire.


I suspect that a revised edition could have chapters on Brazil [2014] as well as Russia and Qatar.Returning to the point in question I think a boycott of the Scotland-Qatar match would be an ineffective and inconsistent course of action. I just want to support Scotland irrespective of whether the opposition is good, bad or ugly or a combination of all three.That said, I do of course respect the decision of any individual who does intend to boycott the game or indeed any other game. Freedom of choice is a precious thing.

Robert Marshall

First posted on Facebook June 2nd, 2015