•The World Cup displays the unifying power of sports and helps people erase their bias against each other, Ecem Koc, a young woman in Istanbul, told Xinhua.
• “There is such a multicultural environment. ... Qatar is very open to different nations, values and cultures,” —Feyza
As the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off in Qatar on Sunday, football fans in Türkiye said the month-long event would contribute to eradicating prejudices among religions, nations, and people.
The World Cup displays the unifying power of sports and helps people erase their bias against each other, Ecem Koc, a young woman in Istanbul, told Xinhua.
“Football is universal. In other words, sport is universal and unifying. No other issue should be included in the sport.”
“There is such a multicultural environment. ... Qatar is very open to different nations, values and cultures,” said Feyza Gumusluoglu, foreign news department coordinator of Istanbul-based broadcaster EkoTurk.
However, the journalist, who lived in Qatar’s capital Doha from 2010 to 2016, noticed that the country’s achievements on the course to the World Cup were being overshadowed by unfair news from western media.
“The handling and the coverage of this World Cup by the Western press, has come to a point of smearing,” she told Xinhua.
Gumusluoglu said she believes that Qatar did a tremendous job transforming the country in line with the requirements of such a big sports event, implementing a series of reforms on labor policy, building and improving infrastructure, and redesigning cities.
In early November, the Arab League said some Western countries had politicized the games by fabricating a “baseless campaign of defamation” against Qatar through their media coverage.
Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, recently lashed out at some Western media, blaming certain Westerners for having “hypocritical double standards.”
For Fatih Ahmetcan Alpcan, a 24-year-old social media manager in Türkiye, the World Cup is where people can get rid of their current problems for a while and only focus on football.
“Even though we (Türkiye) did not participate in the World Cup, it is an organization where we get away from current issues for a while and talk about football and sports. It is important in this sense,” Alpcan said.
Murat Tufan, an analyst with Ekoturk, said the World Cup in Qatar shows that another world is possible and that tolerance should prevail in such a world.