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FIFA’s Blatter unwittingly pinpoints football governance’s prime issues

By James M. Dorsey Embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter unwittingly put his finger on two fundamental issues that underlie a corruption scandal that has rocked world football governance, the worst crisis in the sport’s history: the fiction that sports and politics are separate and hypocrisy that distorts legitimate debate about Qatar’s successful but controversial World …

Daily News Egypt

ILO condemnation of Qatar likely to have ripple effects

By James M. Dorsey The International Labour Organization (ILO) has dealt a blow to Qatari assertions that the Gulf state complies with global standards for workers, in a report that condemned the government for allowing state-owned Qatar Airways, in the words of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), to “violate international and national agreements and …

Daily News Egypt

Reforming football governance: Tackling political corruption alongside financial wrongdoing

By James M. Dorsey The mushrooming governance scandal in world football body FIFA increasingly spotlights political, in addition to financial, corruption in global football. Revelations about government and corporate deals made to secure Germany’s hosting of the 2006 World Cup alongside the prominence of political figures in sports governance, frequently aligned with autocratic regimes, emphasises …

Daily News Egypt

International sports associations caught between dollar signs and human rights ideals

By James M. Dorsey A just published study highlights how commerce and glitz are reinforcing support for autocracy by international sports associations, and undermining the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) newly found resolve to hold potential host cities to human rights standards to which world football body FIFA pays. The study by Andrew Zimbalist, Circus Maximus: The Economic …

Daily News Egypt

UAE embarks on global campaign to market its brand of autocracy

By James M. Dorsey The United Arab Emirates has embarked on an all-out effort to broaden its regional influence and achieve global acceptance of its autocratic definition of terrorism that encompasses all non-violent, legitimate expressions of political Islam. The effort competes head on with Qatar’s pro-Islamist approach to soft power. It involves participation in the …

Daily News Egypt

Israel mobilises to deprive Qatar of the World Cup

By James M. Dorsey One group has been conspicuously absent in the battle for greater transparency of global football governance symbolised by multiple corruption scandals and match-fixing: football fans, a key stakeholder with a vested interest in demanding a thorough cleansing of the management of the sport. That, however, may be changing as Israel appears …

Daily News Egypt

World Cup boosts Iran’s image, highlights political sports battles

By James M. Dorsey It didn’t take long for it to emerge that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shared an understanding of football’s political utility with predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose conservative policies he hopes to reverse. Like Ahmadinejad, Rouhani, a cleric, is seeking to identify himself with the success of his country’s national football team, delivering …

Daily News Egypt

World Cup sparks Islamist debate on football’s integrity

By James M. Dorsey Ultra-conservative clerics are condemning football as a Jewish and Christian tool undermining Islamic culture as millions of Muslims worldwide tune in to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The condemnations revive an enduring debate among conservatives and militants about the football’s integrity. They constitute one side of a jihadi and Salafi …

Daily News Egypt

AFC power struggle reflects sorry state of football governance

By James M. Dorsey   FIFA Vice President and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) executive committee member Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, in an uncommon display of elegance and magnanimity in the rarefied world of world soccer as well as of Middle Eastern and North African leaders, has conceded defeat in a battle that is symptomatic of …

Daily News Egypt

Time for Brazil

On Thursday, brace yourselves, because the football feast will start at the nation where football has been always at its best: Brazil.

Fady Ashraf

Will Brazil win the World Cup?

By Dr César Chelala When Diego Maradona was asked in 1998 who would win that year’s football World Cup being played in France, he said: “Countries organise the World Cup to win it,” thus suggesting that France would be the winner. And it was. The same thing could be said for this year’s World Cup in Brazil. For most people, Brazil is …

Daily News Egypt

Qatar corruption allegations may prove to have potentially massive fall-out

By James M. Dorsey British weekly’s, The Sunday Times, disclosure of millions of documents allegedly revealing Qatari vote buying in the Gulf state’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup could alter the Gulf’s fragile balance of power. It could also reverse hopes that Qatar would initiate significant social change in the region, and return the worst corruption …

Daily News Egypt

Out of the shadows: Young players set to shine at 2014 World Cup

In less than a month, all eyes across the globe will be on Brazil for the World Cup. Every four years, football addicts worldwide share new tactics, squad lists, expectations and hopes. Amid all the obvious gems, it’s worth searching for those young players who might not yet have the crown of stardom around their …

Fady Ashraf

Diables Rouges

World football fans are familiar with the names of Eden Hazard, Jan Vertonghen, Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, Vincent Kompany, Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet. Wwhat gathers this set of quality footballers are their Belgian passports. Belgium was never a football giant, as the national team appeared in 12 World Cups and their best result was …

Fady Ashraf