A year on from Qatar 2022, what’s the legacy of a World Cup like no other?
The 2022 World Cup final will go down as one of the most exciting, dramatic and memorable matches in the history of the game.
It was the scene of Lionel Messi’s greatest moment on a soccer pitch, in which he cemented his legacy as the best player of his generation after finally guiding Argentina to World Cup glory.
It was, for many, the perfect, fairytale ending to a tournament which thrilled well over a billion fans around the world. So good, perhaps, that many forgot it bookended the most controversial World Cup in history.
Rewind to the start of the tournament and the talk was all about matters off the field: from workers’ rights to the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
Just hours before the opening match, FIFA President Gianni Infantino launched into a near hour-long tirade to hundreds of journalists at a press conference in Doha, where he accused Western critics of hypocrisy and racism.
“Reform and change takes time. It took hundreds of years in our countries in Europe. It takes time everywhere, the only way to get results is by engaging ] not by shouting,” said Infantino.
At one point, the FIFA president challenged the room of journalists, stressing FIFA will protect the legacy for migrant workers that it set out with the Qatar authorities.
“I’ll be back, we’ll be here to check, don’t worry, because you will be gone,” he said.
So, a year on from the World Cup final, what is the legacy of the 2022 World Cup?