Firstly, congratulations to the Matildas. This article is in no way meant to take the gloss off their magnificent 1-0 defeat of Brazil. Beating Brazil in any form of soccer, in any form of competition, let alone the Round of 16 in a World Cup, is to be celebrated heartily.
But as we bask in national glory, we ignore an inconvenient truth. This is a FIFA World Cup. FIFA. Remember them? The corrupt bastards who took a shitload of cash to award a World Cup to Qatar, where some 1000 migrants have already lost their lives on construction sites under oppressive working conditions? Yeah, them.
Being the women’s World Cup, the best of us really want to embrace this success. This, along with last weekend’s fantastic netball grand final, has seen women’s sport enjoy unprecedented exposure in this country. Which is undoubtedly a great thing.
But just because it’s the women’s competition doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recognise this is a FIFA competition, and that FIFA is fucked.
Weeks ago we were all talking about boycotting Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, but now we are right behind our girls. Admittedly, Canada doesn’t have quite the human rights problems that those two have, but they still club seals, don’t they?
It is indicative of a national psyche where success outweighs everything. In Australia, wins triumph evil. The only thing that supplants our national past-time of high-horsing moral indignation is winning. Nothing else matters when winning. We like to win. And who doesn’t?
Culturally speaking, we are content to just ride the good times. Whether it’s the mining boom or unsustainable property prices, Australians are prepared to shut our mouths and reap the rich rewards until it all turns sour. Then, we’re the first in line to cry poor.
It is purely hypothetical, but what would have happened if we had won the 2022 World Cup via corrupt means? It would be very interesting to see how we would have reacted to the scandal. I highly doubt we would have been demanding a redraw. Probably, much like most Essendon Bombers supporters, we would have just shoved our heads in the sand and waited for it all to go away.
Sure, there would be less international outcry, given less workers would have died and we haven’t recently invaded our neighbours, but it still wouldn’t make it right.
As in the case of recent outcry over the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, our indignation, misguided or otherwise, only lasts so long. #BoycottBali ran out of steam quicker than you can say ‘cheap beer and 6-foot barrels.’
At the end of the day, we will twist whichever way the wind blows.
By Alasdair McClintock with staff writers