In three years’ time, the World Cup is scheduled to have the big tournament in Qatar. It will be an authoritarian regime’s vulgar vanity project, allegedly made possible by massive corruption, wrote Franklin Foer.
According to human-rights groups, the effort to build stadiums in the desert, and the struggle against nature that construction entails, has already killed more than a thousand migrant workers.
It’s been impossible to ignore the rank malfeasance of the Qatari project. The story dominated the Parisian broadsheets, when French officials detained Michel Platini, arguably the country’s greatest male player of all time.
That’s only the latest accusation of Qatari bribery. Soccer officials around the world seem to have found their bank accounts stuffed with millions. Whistle-blowers keep stepping forward to detail the schemes; investigative reporters keep churning out documentation to show the circuitous routes traveled by huge sums of money.
The world spends extravagantly on the festival of corruption and death. The Qatari tournament represents everything rotten about global soccer. And with this World Cup we have had a perfect glimpse of all that women’s soccer could provide, if it can only manage to slip the constraints of the sexist kleptocrats who have kept it down.