The World Cup: Politics, Petrol & Power

The unveiling of the official Emblem of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Doha. (Photo by Christopher Pike/Getty Images for Supreme Committee 2022)

Even if you are not an avid football fan, most likely you’ve noticed that, for the first time, the World Cup is being played in the Middle East—specifically in the tiny state of Qatar—and that there have been all sorts of controversies to do with that.

In no particular order:

Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA, gave a surreal hour-long interview, seemingly to try to defend Qatar’s human rights and LGBTQ rights abuses (criticism has been levied on the death toll of the migrants building the World Cup stadiums) by accusing the West of being hypocritical.

Then there was the whole flip-flopping on buying alcohol in the stadiums.

Then there was extraordinary fact that Saudi Crown Prince MBS—who, in 2017, joined forces with UAE premier MBZ and Egypt and Blockade to blockade their ultra-wealthy rival Qatar—showed up to the World Cup Opening and, grinning, clutched hands with Qatar’s ruler Emir Tamim Al-Thani for photographers. READ MORE.