The true power of soccer – My plenary speech on the World Cup in Qatar

Currently, there is a lot of discussion about the World Cup in Qatar.

But when I think of soccer, the first thing that comes to mind are the “Scoring Girls.” These girls play soccer every day in a refugee camp near Dohuk in Iraq, where Yazidi families live in dire conditions, plagued by trauma and limited possibilities.

On the day I visited the camp, I was allowed to join in the game: Many fathers and brothers had come to cheer them on, and they were clearly very proud. I remember laughter, hugs and a hopeful atmosphere. The message I took with me that day was that girls can do anything. That’s where the true power of soccer lies.

What a contrast to this is FIFA soccer: money and corruption rule, big bosses enjoy their privileges, and messages like “ONE LOVE” are being punished.

Many migrant workers have died during the construction of the stadiums in Qatar, despite some improvements of the working conditions in recent years. We will continue to observe the developments – even after the end of the World Cup.

The World Cup in Qatar stands for so many things that soccer should not be. It is a missed opportunity.

You can see my entire plenary speech on this topic in the video below:

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