At this time of worry it came as a relief that – unlike almost every World Cup opening match in my life – England sailed through against Iran on Monday.

Moreover, family members of mine who, as is their right, could not care less about football, were thoroughly engaged because of the political context in Qatar. The last-minute FIFA insistence that our players wearing the rainbow armband would be penalised with a yellow card caused much anger.

Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA, responding to the somewhat eleventh-hour denunciation of his organisations choice of Qatar, accused the West of hypocrisy. This did not go down well, but the problem for the UK, for example, is that some of what he said sticks.

I have been going to live football matches for more than half a century, the blood of Charlton Athletic running through my veins, with Exeter City as my second team for the last forty years. It didn’t have to be so.

In April 1971, my dad had got tickets for Crystal Palace against Manchester United, then in their late vintage with Best, Charlton and Law in their pomp. Palace went two up, only for Utd to win 5-3, a hattrick from Denis Law, two from George Best, Law’s finest being a bicycle kick. It was the perfect game.

On the way home my dad wondered out loud if he and I ought to start going to see Crystal Palace instead of Charlton. The clubs were equidistant from our house south of Bromley. And neither of us were much enjoying the thin gruel being served up at the Valley.

But somehow the idea did not gain traction with him, and while I had some hope that next season he and I would become “Glaziers”, like almost all of my school mates, instead the following autumn we hoisted the “Valiant” cross back on our shoulders. Fifty years of mediocrity, magnificence, despair and joy at Charlton cannot have helped my blood pressure.

What though, would FIFA’s Mr Infantini have made of 1971 England. Lord Wolfenden’s 1957 report had recommended that the illegal status of gay sex be removed. It took ten years for this to happen. It took until 2001 – yes 2001 – for the age of consent for sex to be made equal for people of all sexualities.

In 1971, Infantini could have found epic corruption in the British game. At a very basic level, any ground where cash was taken at turnstiles – all of them until recent times - that cash often never figured in a club’s accounts. At many games in packed grounds which could hold, say, 25,000, the crowd laughed towards the end of the game when the announcer came on the tannoy with a straight face saying, “And today’s attendance is 17, 387.”

Fistfuls of cash would then cross the palms of nefarious characters on the edges of the game, be it agents to persuade a player to sign for a club, or the players themselves for the same purpose.

As to the near exclusion of women from football, the well-recorded racism at many matches, the vile abuse of players and officials, Mr Infantini could have filled his notebook. To the great credit of society and the game, the UK has taken great strides in all of this. Though we still have only one out professional footballer in the top four leagues.

Today, he could look at the money in the Premier league. Middle Eastern petro-dollars, Russian oligarchs (until recently), all sorts of Far Eastern owners. The huge presence of gambling ads luring addicts into misery at every half-time break on television.

Mr Infantini’s tone was wrong, desperate really. But while we hope for the best for England (Wales too!), should we be big enough to look at ourselves with the same zealous scrutiny we are rightly employing about Qatar?