FIFA’s mirage of unity: why the World Cup is a vessel for political protest

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Before the World Cup in Qatar, FIFA launched a social campaign called “Football Unites the World”. FIFA acknowledged “the world is divided […] with conflicts and global crises”, but promised that the World Cup will “bring people together to cross borders, unite and celebrate”.

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It is a similar message to that of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which says that the Olympic Games “unite” the world of nations. Such ambitions are not just about bringing countries together to play sport according to agreed rules: these two global bodies also believe they have some capacity to shape international relations.

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