A Troubled Cup for the Beautiful Game

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has kicked off in Qatar, and billions of fans worldwide are tuning in to the world’s most popular live event. And yet as in years past, the Qatar Cup is transpiring under the shadow of controversy.

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Host
  • Gabrielle Sierra
    Director, Podcasting
Credits

Asher Ross - Supervising Producer

Markus Zakaria - Audio Producer and Sound Designer

Molly McAnany - Associate Podcast Producer

Episode Guests
  • Laurent Dubois
    Academic Director, Karsh Institute of Democracy and John L. Nau III Bicentennial Professor of the History & Principles of Democracy, University of Virginia

Show Notes

As Qatar welcomes more than a million fans to its newly-constructed soccer stadia, billions more are watching avidly from every corner of the planet. Still, the 2022 Cup has long been overshadowed by accusations of corruption, exploited migrant labor, and the clash between Qatar’s domestic laws and Western democratic values. Qatar was willing to lay out more than $200 billion in order to burnish its image on the world stage, but it remains unclear whether they will get the desired return on their investment. In this episode, we ask what the World Cup’s soft power means when wielded by a tiny, authoritarian petrostate, and what lessons can be learned from the world’s irrepressible love of soccer.

 

 

From CFR

 

Eleanor Albert and Jonathan Grix, “The Mixed Record of Sports Diplomacy

 

Kali Robinson, “What Is the Kafala System?

 

Rebecca Turkington, “Going for the Goal: Will the 2019 World Cup Be a Game Changer for Women’s Soccer?,” Women Around the World


 

From Our Guest
 

Laurent Dubois, The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer, Basic Books

 

Laurent Dubois, Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France, University of California Press


 

Read More

 

James Montague and Tariq Panja, “Ahead of Qatar World Cup, a Gulf Feud Plays Out in the Shadows,” New York Times

 

Jules Boykoff and Dave Zirin, “The Tragic Absurdity of Qatar’s World Cup Sportswashing,” The Nation

 

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, “Politics and Soccer in the EU,” Institute of World Politics

 

Rory Smith, “Soccer Is Politics, Whether It Likes It or Not,” New York Times

 

Simon Evans, “Soccer-Politics and Protest in Sport: Have FIFA’s Rules Changed?,” Reuters


 

Watch and Listen

 

The True Cost of the Qatar 2022 World Cup,” Business Insider

 

World Corrupt,” Crooked Media


The Qatar World Cup Explained,” Tifo Football

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