Kudos to pitchinvasion.net for an excellent article on the disgusting decision by Barcelona FC to accept sackloads of cash to promote Islam Karimov, the world’s most vicious dictator.
Pitch invasion were building on an article in the Observer by Kevin O’Flynn, who is almost the only sports journalist who ever tackles the seamy underside of the beautiful game.
Kevin O’Flynn’s reckoning of salaries in Uzbekistan as £25 a week is an official statistic. Some urban folk get that. Most of the population live on much, much less. For this poor and terrorised state to be spending hundreds of millions of pounds of money stolen from the Uzbek people on building a glamour football club to glorify the President’s daughter, is obscene in the extreme.
High among the many horrors of the Karimov regime is the mass use of child slavery to pick the State – ie Karimov family – owned cotton crop. Hundreds of thousands of children are forced into the cotton fields for weeks in conditions that mirror those of black slaves in the USA in the 19th century. Uzbekistan is the second largest exporter of cotton in the world.
The situation is so appalling that even Walmart and Tesco have joined a voluntary private sector boycott in the US and UK of all items containing Uzbek cotton.
Barcelona should be ashamed of the collaboration with Karimov. They carry the Unicef logo on their shirts. The irony of Unicef being advertised on a team that is paid to glorify the leader of the world’s largest system of child slavery, is staggering.
Unicef must break their ties with Barcelona. Now.