The FBI agents who broke the International Football Federation scandal in late May by getting a bunch of foreigners arrested in Switzerland are naturally convinced that their sole purpose is to combat corruption. American ideologues who advocate “R2P” – the “right and responsibility to protect” – have no doubt that U.S. armed intervention is a suitable way to protect human rights. Air Force officers who bomb people in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen take it for granted that they are eliminating terrorism.
“It will blow over” tends to be Qatar’s unofficial response to criticism of its World Cup bid, but with a FIFA corruption scandal exploding onto the world’s front pages, the Gulf state has glumly realised it may have a real fight on its hands.
Super-rich Qatar would suffer no economic pain if it lost the right to host the world’s top soccer event. At stake is influence, including its use of sport as a platform to operate on the global stage, opening doors to finance, media, diplomacy, property and tourism.
When a Palestinian motion to expel Israel from international soccer was scrapped last week at the 11th hour by the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials hailed the results as a victory for Israeli public diplomacy. “Our international effort proved itself and brought about the failure of the effort of the Palestinian Authority,” Netanyahu said of the push headed by former Palestinian Gen.
Israel to send its largest ever sport delegation to the first European Games in Baku Azerbaijan, June 12-18. While months of fighting by the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) to suspend Israel from international soccer competitions with FIFA has ended, Israeli diplomats have warned that the next battle is near, the Olympics, Israeli news site Ynet reported.
Soccer is truly the world’s sport. It is played and watched by more people across the globe than any other sport.
Every four years, it is the center of global attention when the World Cup is held. It’s as if the World Series and Super Bowl were rolled into one mega-sporting event with viewership in the hundreds of millions.
As the behind-the-scenes diplomacy to halt Palestine's call for Israel to be suspended from FIFA enters its final phase, the head of the Palestine Football Association has provided FIFA with a timely example of why his controversial proposal remains on the table at the forthcoming FIFA Congress.