fifa

If you haven’t heard the song by now, you soon will; Mas Que Nada by Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 will be a big part of this summer’s soundtrack. As the World Cup in Brazil fast approaches, the 1963 Jorge Ben number is on tv, in adverts, cafes, bars—in fact, everywhere. One translation of the song’s title is “whatever”, a perfect country slogan for a track that seems to personify the stereotypical view many of us have of Brazil and Brazilians. 

A disclosure by British weekly The Sunday Times of millions of documents allegedly revealing massive Qatari vote buying in the Gulf state's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup could rejigger the Gulf's fragile balance of power, reverse hopes that Qatar would initiate significant social change in the region, and return the worst corruption crisis in global soccer governance to the top of the agenda.

FIFA’s investigative report and related documents, which were obtained by The New York Times and have not been publicly released, raise serious questions about the vulnerability of the World Cup to match fixing. The tournament opens June 12 in Brazil. The report found that the match-rigging syndicate and its referees infiltrated the upper reaches of global soccer in order to fix exhibition matches and exploit them for betting purposes. 

Manager Roy Hodgson is due to announce his England World Cup squad later and thousands of British fans are expected to make the journey to Brazil for the tournament.

Members of the Russian parliament have written to FIFA asking it to consider excluding Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA team from the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. Alexander Sidyakin and Michael Markelov, two members of the Duma, addressed their concern about the “U.S.’s military aggression against several sovereign states” and named Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and Syria among those suffering from U.S. aggression.

A perceived lack of real progress in the improvement of conditions for foreign labor, aggravated by a Qatari reluctance to engage in public debate beyond platitudes, is undermining the soft-power goals underlying the Gulf state’s sports strategy

February 1, 2014

In its first issue of 2014, Monocle dedicated a slice of the magazine to its Soft Power Survey, a run-down of countries and their ability to create and sustain influence in positive ways. For the first time in its four year history, Monocle accorded sport its own category in the metrics of the survey. Football took centre stage as perhaps the most pervasive and global of all sports.

With the current cloud of anti-Semitic allegations hovering over football, Fifa must be praying that Israel do not qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. For hard on the heels of the disturbing concerns over excessive heat, homophobia and mass deaths of migrant construction workers comes an incident at the recent Swimming World Cup in the capital Doha when the Qatari hosts refused to display the name “Israel” during TV broadcasts and removed Israeli flags from outside the venue.

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