Russia uncovered: writers on the World Cup host nation

May 20, 2018


Lokomotiv Moscow fans wave flags during the 2017 Russian Super Cup football match against Spartak Moscow
“With the World Cup kicking off in less than a month and tensions with the west at their worst level in decades, Observer writers and Russia experts go behind the spin to analyse the host nation’s social and political landscape. Part 1. Racism. ‘Young fans see the dominance of far-right chants. Anyone who challenges it faces a threat of violence’. It is the most politically charged World Cup in recent memory: Russia, resurgent under Vladimir Putin, is set to host the 32-team tournament next month amid scandals ranging from sports doping to spy poisonings. Relations between Moscow and London are at their coolest since the cold war and the recent events in Salisbury even led to brief speculation (aided by Boris Johnson) that England could skip the tournament, recalling the Olympics boycotts of the 1980s. …”
Guardian

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Dani Alves Injury Opens the Door for Another Right-back

May 20, 2018

“An injury to one is always a chance for another to make a name for himself. Such is the situation now for Brazil’s right-backs. Russia was to have been the third and final World Cup in the career of Daniel Alves, and the crowning glory of his international career. After featuring in midfield in 2010 and losing his place during the course of the 2014 tournament, finally he would have a chance to shine for his country in a team well set up to use his talents. Fate has decided otherwise, with a knee injury ruling him out. …” World Soccer – Tim Vickery


World Cup 2018: Saudi Arabia to show all 64 matches illegally after banning Qatar channel beIN Sports in diplomatic row

May 20, 2018

“A diplomatic row means Saudi Arabia will be pirating all 64 matches of the World Cup after banning the sports channel in rival Qatar, which owns the broadcast rights. The extraordinary situation arose following a spat between the two countries last June which led to beIN Sports being caught up in a trade ban between the two countries. As well as the World Cup, the Doha-based channel owns the rights to broadcast the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup final across the Middle East. …” Independent


The World Cup in Russia is an unmissable diplomatic opportunity – for us and them

May 20, 2018

“One month to go, and the Anglo-Saxons are preparing their football fans for the truly horrible time they are going to have at Russia’s World Cup. Here in the UK, the police have warned England supporters about waving their St George’s flags too enthusiastically on the grounds that it risks coming across as “almost imperialistic”. It could even, said the head of football policing, Mark Roberts, ’cause antagonism’ – as though antagonism was somehow alien to what tournament football, indeed all sport, is fundamentally about.  …” Independent