kicking off: On Sunday, the FIFA World Cup 2022 starts in Qatar. Every four years, men’s soccer takes to the global stage at the world’s most-watched sporting event. While millions tune in to cheer on their national teams, others call out the tournament’s political and human rights issues.
Throughout its history, FIFA has been no stranger to red flags. Tournament after tournament, human rights organizations have criticized the host countries and FIFA for everything from crackdowns on protests to excessive policing and forced evictions. So much so that the football organization created a panel to address these issues. Then there’s the fact that some countries are taking on massive debt to build essentially one-way stadiums. And there have been arguments about how countries become hosts in the first place. For years, the Ministry of Justice has been investigating allegations of corruption – including in Qatar and Russia, where representatives of the countries are accused of buying votes from FIFA officials. Now that the World Cup is about to begin, other issues have come to light.
Tell me more.
where to start If you thought the most controversial aspect of this World Cup was that it takes place in winter, think again. Football’s greatest athletes have been spared from working in Qatar’s brutal summer heat (think: 120 degrees). But the same attention has not been given to the more than 6,500 migrant workers who died from causes such as dehydration and heat exhaustion while building the eight World Cup stadiums in Qatar. That’s not all: there have been allegations that migrant workers have been harassed, housed in unsafe conditions, underpaid (or not paid), had their passports confiscated and sent home without warning. Additionally, some fans have raised security concerns – amid reports of the country’s “profound discrimination” against women (see: its male guardianship rules) and its criminalization of homosexuality. On Friday, Qatar suddenly said “no” to alcohol in stadiums, prompting some to worry about what other last-minute decisions might be made. And in an hour-long speech at the tournament’s opening press conference on Saturday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino lamented the “hypocrisy” and “moral lecturing” of Western countries. He added that “everyone’s safety is assured”.
What’s happening now?
While FIFA has urged fans and teams to put politics aside, some are unwilling to do so. Several French cities and London will not broadcast the competition on big screens in protest at alleged human rights abuses in Qatar. The Denmark national team will have the opportunity to wear an all-black kit to draw attention to the fact that the tournament “cost the lives of thousands of people”. The US team displays LGBTQIA+ solidarity with a rainbow logo in their media room and training facility. And several European captains plan to wear rainbow armbands on the pitch – even if it might violate FIFA rules. More protests could come once the World Cup begins.
Global sporting events are an opportunity for the world to come together. But they often take place against a background of forced displacement, human trafficking and shady politics. In Qatar, it’s unclear whether the roar of the crowd will drown out the more serious issues at play.
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Downtime doesn’t have to mean doing nothing. Here’s an idea on how to make the most of your weekend.
Thanksgiving is only five days away. And let’s face it, whether you’re hosting your first Friendsgiving or your fifth Thanksgiving, things could get stressful. But they don’t have to come the stressful. Here are our top tips:
Be sure to delegate. When hosting the big meal, assign cocktails (or mocktails) to one friend or family member, apps to another, and dessert to a third. Or team up with others and turn it into a progressive dinner party — meaning you go to one person’s home for drinks and apps, another for the main course, and another for dessert.
Try new things. Who says the holiday calls for turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes? Change things up this year and go the non-traditional route. Ask each guest to bring the dish they were most grateful for in 2022. Or one that is reminiscent of their origin or home state.
Nothing wrong with shortcuts. Save time, energy, and oven space by preparing a few dishes ahead of time—from sweet potato casserole to cranberry sauce to pumpkin cheesecake. You could also take it a step further and put together a mostly store-bought spread. Hey, if it’s good enough for Ina Garten, it’s good enough for us.
Think beyond the dining table. Don’t have a table for 16? Honestly, who does that? Instead, set up a few places for people to gather and eat. This can be at a coffee table or kitchen island, or on the floor with stools and cushions. Then create a mood with a few small but nice party essentials: A DIY centerpiece made of autumn leaves. Mini pumpkins and linen napkins at every seat. String lights to create a soft, warm glow. And of course a great playlist.
Remember: It isn’t only about the food. Take some time to celebrate what you are grateful for. This could mean covering your table with a piece of kitchen paper and asking everyone to write down one or two things they are grateful for. Or it could mean asking everyone to make Thanksgiving toast. And after the feast, fight your eating coma with some fun games or activities.