How to keep politics and sports separate

FIFA, may not be a government, but they and the events they put on are undeniably political and embody all the worst things about globalisation.

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left to right) stand for the anthem prior to the match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opened the 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia.Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left to right) stand for the anthem prior to the match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opened the 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia. (Source: AP/SITA)

For better or worse, sports and politics often intersect. As the World Cup gets underway in Russia, this tournament has more political overtones than most.

While Saudi Arabia was losing 5-0 to the host country Russia in the tournament’s opening match, the Saudi army launched a massive attack on the Yemeni city of Hodeidah. That key port is the source of 80 percent of supplies, food and fuel entering the war-torn country — and the new fighting has led humanitarian groups to forecast a coming crisis. The attack targeted Houthi rebels, who are backed by another World Cup nation — Iran.

Meanwhile, Iran’s footballers were involved in the drama of their own. Following US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the compromise nuclear agreement with the Iranian government, the World Cup team had trouble acquiring uniforms and equipment. Unlike the other squads in the tournament, which generally are paid to wear uniforms produced by Adidas, Nike or some other brand, the Iranian team had to buy their own.

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Top stories

In the Tehelné Pole zone, the pilot parking policy will be replaced by the city-wide parking policy.

Bratislava gears up for city-wide parking policy

Parking will first be regulated only in parts of Nové Mesto and Rača boroughs.


15 h

News digest: Slovakia records highest number of positive cases since mid-April

Covid spreads mostly in schools. Bratislava ring road stretches to open on Sunday. Slovak water slalom athletes successful at world championships.


14 h
arrested Pavol Ďurka of NAKA specialised team Purgatory heading to Bratislava' district court.

How an anti-team dismantled an elite police team with the help of the secret service

Hints of a possible coalition break-up over rule of law not materialising for now.


21. sep
In this photo taken from video, Slovakia's President Zuzana Čaputová remotely addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in a pre-recorded message, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 at U.N. headquarters.

President to the UN Assembly: Where scientists succeeded, politics is still failing

Zuzana Čaputová recalled the words Pope Francis addressed to Slovak youth during his recent visit to Slovakia.


21 h
Skryť Close ad