I’m not a sports fan by a long stretch, but I do find it sad that for each event recently, they just keep getting more and more political. Sochi, the most expensive games in history, were deeply corrupt and served as pure geopolitical PR (and then became just a warm-up for the invasion of Crimea). The Brazil World Cup this summer has seen deaths, and is overshadowed by protests that started last year and are now taking a clever, viral turn. Today a report came out on Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, which is now being called a humanitarian crisis, with migrant workers dying in mass to build the infrastructure and stadia.
You could argue that sports always has been mired in politics, from Pheidippides, the first marathon runner to Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics. But things seem to be taking a more ominous turn. Perhaps it’s related to the fact that these days, it’s mostly the less democratic countries that have enough money to put on these huge spectacles.
FIFA, which for long has had a bad reputation, needs to act on reports such as this. And perhaps it’s time to scale down these events. By having smaller events, there’d be less room for corruption, humanitarian crimes and disasters.