Since 2010, the leadup to this World Cup has been mired in concerns that have challenged both Qatar and FIFA’s standing. Among them are the scheduling of the World Cup in the middle of the big European league seasons (to beat the Middle Eastern summer), Qatar’s labour and migrant worker standards around construction of infrastructure, and Qatar’s apparent disrespect for gender equality or LGBTQ+ rights.
But while the details in this case are different, the football World Cup has seen controversy before.
In fact, it’s hard to find a staging of the tournament in the modern era (circa 1974 onwards) that hasn’t been in some way tainted by the vast sums of money in play and the political benefits up for grabs.
What is different in 2022 is the impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had on the sporting world. Almost overnight, open expressions of support by athletes and fans for…