Men's World Cup: Podcasts about Qatar without Qataris

The podcasts "Beyond Qatar" and "Geld Macht Qatar" discuss the upcoming World Cup. But the debate remains self-referential.

Empty football stadium Lusail

Built under working conditions similar to slavery: Stadium Lusail in the planned city of the same name Photo: Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters

“And the winner is … Qatar!” How did the men's World Cup come about in a tiny autocratic desert state? slavery-like working conditions and pretty much devoid of fan culture? And how to deal with it? Two very different podcasts are currently dealing with this question. “Beyond Qatar” is the name of the one in which Moritz Knorr talks to experts about corruption, human rights and boycotts for the Podcastbude.

"Money Makes Qatar" is the other; here promise the ARD and The time, trying to decipher the "black box Qatar" beyond news bites and prejudices. In the first row the journalists Pune Djalilevand (RBB), Benedikt Nabben (BR) and Yassin Musharbash (Time).

Both formats make the same bad decision: they don't poll Qatari voices. the Qatar debate What remains is the self-referential German discussion, which it actually has been all along. You don't know that much about the country, but a lot better. This becomes particularly clear with "Beyond Qatar", where well-known white German sports authors such as Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling (Boycott Qatar) and Ronny Blaschke (the latter was at least there several times) dominate the discussion.

Even "Geld Macht Qatar", which is much more diverse, involuntarily says a lot when the three journalists are presented as experts who "know better than almost anyone in Germany at the moment" about Qatar - for which they apparently paid a one-week stay qualified.

"Beyond Qatar"since August 8th, every second Monday, seven episodes, three are yet to appear

"Money Makes Qatar"since September 13, every Tuesday, eight episodes, six episodes are still to come

This is a pity. And yet, at least "Money Power Qatar" also makes quite a few right decisions. First of all, the podcast benefits enormously from the fact that the journalists were there for a short time. In addition to all sorts of expected observations - creepily clean bazaars, extremely rich Qataris in mirrored Toyotas - they bring along interesting things. For example, that many Qataris apparently drive their SUVs into the desert in their free time to enjoy freedom there that they don't have in clinical Doha. That in these families, who two generations ago were still poor pearl divers, the Bedouin tradition lives on - in the four-star bungalow. And that the worlds in this class society hardly ever meet: the migrants even have their own supermarkets.

The differentiated tone of the podcast is also pleasant. He outlines a common predatory capitalist football world instead of the much-claimed “democracy versus autocracy”, exemplified by the power of Qatari Nasser al-Khelaifi in European football. It also takes a worthwhile amount of travel to see him live. And the podcast weighs words carefully. The reporters see Qatar not so much as a dictatorship, but as an autocracy; the emir must certainly take tribal interests into account. And, of course, as an al-Thanis family business. Yassin Musharbash: "It's a tribe with a flag and a border." In "Beyond Qatar", on the other hand, it rarely goes beyond the usual explanations such as soft power and sports washing. There is a lot of confusion between real and perceived problems.

"Why do I have to spend my beloved World Cup under the patio heater?" complains moderator Knorr. Human rights criticism is mixed with Eurocentrism and condescension – Qatar is by no means “a country without a football tradition”, as it has been said several times. The first local club was founded in 1950 build such? The "biggest scandal in the history of the World Cup", as the podcast poignantly calls it, is in view of the Mussolini-WM 1934 or the WM next to torture camps 1978 a daring thesis.

“Beyond Qatar” would have benefited from a less pounding fist on the regulars' table and a more precise awareness of the problem. The diligence in dealing with the whole corruption saga is gratifying. Many repressed details about the power of Qatar, capital and all the madness with which Fifa undermines democracy can be listened to here in detail. Anyone who listens carefully will come to the same conclusion here: the rich of this world buy football on all fronts. With World Cup in Qatar or without.

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