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The presence of Spanish king Felipe VI in Qatar to attend one match in the World Cup group stage - we'll wait to see what occurs in subsequent matches - is one of those episodes that only demonstrate the enormous distance between the Spanish monarchy and reality. Of the other five countries taking part in the tournament that have reigning monarchies, their heads of state have declined to appear in Qatar due to the controversy triggered by the human rights violations in the emirate and the death of many workers during the construction of its football stadiums.

But the royal figure that will be there is Felipe VI, who has a unique relationship with the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, as we have been able to follow during the corruption cases that have affected his father, Spain's king emeritus. The son and reigning monarch will be in Doha today, where the Spanish team will make its 2022 Cup debut against Costa Rica. Other countries with reigning monarchies present in Qatar (that is, England, Wales, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark) have opted for prudence and will not be there in this first phase, not Charles, not Willem-Alexander, nor Philippe or Margrethe, the four heads of the respective royal houses.

Why hasn't Felipe VI done the same? Does the Pedro Sánchez government have nothing to say considering that this is not a private visit? It's even worse: it gave its view and the government's spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, endorsed the trip as a way to show his support for the Spanish team. The other part of the Spanish executive, Unidas Podemos, has criticized the holding of the football World Cup in Qatar, but has avoided raising the subject of Felipe VI's junket to Doha. As good as any other way of tiptoeing around the thorny ground in which the alternative left grouping finds itself given the poisonous battle between former Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias and current second deputy PM Yolanda Díaz.

It is true that if there is one thing that pervades this World Cup in Qatar, in addition to surprises on the field of play - including the unthinkable defeat of Leo Messi's Argentina against Saudi Arabia - it is a huge amount of cynicism. Protests made in a very quiet voice, since no one wants to be angrier than is useful with certain countries that have huge amounts of money and, for this reason, have ended up getting the World Cup held in their country, changing the dates of the celebration from July to November and paralyzing all the leagues on the planet. This is only done with money, a lot of it. And from there, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, one of the most powerful people in the Middle East and with a family fortune exceeding 450 billion dollars, does what he wants and human rights are left for another occasion or a better occasion.