Russia, FIFA and the Power of Sport

Russia's President Vladimir Putin with FIFA boss Gianni Infantino and riding a horse in Siberia
Mega sporting events like the Olympics or the World Cup attract global attention to host countries as well as the athletes. Russia, hosting the World Cup through mid-July, views such events as “a way to prove the world it is a guardian of universal norms,” writes Michal Romanowski, Eurasian expert with the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “Yet by invading Ukraine in 2014 and intervening in the Middle East on Syria’s behalf, Moscow could not be farther away from the high-minded principles of international sporting organizations.” Football is the world’s most popular sport, and hosting a mega event like the World Cup requires rapid and massive investment in infrastructure and mobilization of resources that are too often linked to corruption and mismanagement. Money dominates global sporting events, making them another tool for powerful forces, and Romanowski concludes that principles such as human rights and peace have become secondary goals. – YaleGlobal