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Held every four years, this international football event gets a
global viewership in the billions and Singaporeans also get caught up in the excitement of the World Cup. However, the World Cup is more than fun and entertainment. This sporting event has offered economic and job opportunities to many, including Singaporeans, from training match officials to selling bubble tea.
Although it is known as the “beautiful game”, it has also drawn its share of criticisms. The FIFA 2022 World Cup kicked off in the small gulf state of Qatar, amid a backdrop of
celebrations and some controversies.
Major sporting events like the
Olympics and the World Cup could generate multibillion-dollar investments and “intangible legacy” for host countries. These result in benefits for the host country such as new infrastructure and improved international perception as it unites the world in a shared love for sports.
However, some also question the
benefits of hosting such major games. This includes questions on the infrastructure built and if it has longer term benefits, or the issue of “ sportswashing“”.
Does the World Cup score a goal (or two) in your books?
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YES, THE WORLD CUP BRINGS BENEFITS TO THE WORLD.
NO, THE WORLD CUP RAISES PROBLEMS FOR THE WORLD.
The World Cup promises opportunities for economic gains. Host countries stand to gain with investments in sporting and public infrastructure and economic benefits in the long term. Some experts are optimistic that economic growth can be sustained by showcasing Qatar’s “state-of-the-art transportation systems, world class tourism and culinary experiences… and generous hospitality”. There are increased digital marketing opportunities as more viewers are digitally engaged with the World Cup. F&B operators and delivery platforms may also reap benefits given the social nature of watching the games.
The true cost of the World Cup cannot be ignored. Criticisms of t he working conditions of those who helped lay the physical infrastructure for the World Cup have been rife. The huge expenses incurred by host countries may not be offset by potential economic gains, such as through tourism. Sporting infrastructure built specifically for the event may become “white elephant” structures after the World Cup ends.
It provides a stage for countries to improve international relations. Hosting the World Cup is an opportunity to project a more positive image, and gain soft power and support from the international community. For instance, host nations could take this chance to highlight “ change and progress” to visiting nations on an international stage.
Existing socio-political issues may be exacerbated. The World Cup tournaments over the years have had a history of politics mixing with sports. Political expressions on the field, sanctioned or not, and calls for boycotts, highlight the socio-political tensions. Mixed public opinion surveys and critical media coverage could impact national reputations.
It serves as a shared experience. The billions of viewers simultaneously tuning in to the World Cup makes for a truly global shared experience beyond borders. An opportunity for solidarity, differences, be it on the domestic or political front, could be set aside as fans unite under one flag. Rooting for the “lesser known teams” in any sporting event has the power to rally spectators from various countries or cultures, especially if they embody identities that are often under-represented.
Not everyone views the game as truly unifying. Some critics say that sporting events such as football are just games, with no real importance to our lives. The competition also seems to further support a “ nationally divided world”, under the spectacle of entertainment and sporting rivalry. Additionally, global sporting events are a hotbed for conflicting expressions of nationhood and belonging.
Poll: Your views matter!
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Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash and History of Soccer
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*Explore the resources below to find out more about the World Cup, soccer and how it can impact the world. * Videos
Concordia. (2022, September 22). The social and human legacy of the World Cup. 2022 Concordia Annual Summit. Retrieved 2022, December 11.
Insider Business. (2022, October 22).
The true cost of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Retrieved 2022, December 11.
DW News. (2022, December 3).
‘Double standards’ - Is western criticism of Qatar’s World Cup unfair? Retrieved 2022, December 11. VIDEO
The Economist. (2022, November 18).
Why is the World Cup important to Qatar? Retrieved 2022, December 11. VIDEO
Al Jazeera English. (2018, July 15).
Politics and the World Cup. Retrieved 2022, December 11. VIDEO
Hosting the FIFA World Cup: An Economic Analysis of how the World Cup has Impacted the Economy of a Developed and a Developing Nation . Borga, Juan, “Hosting the FIFA World Cup: An Economic Analysis of how the World Cup has Impacted the Economy of a Developed and a Developing Nation” (2020). Undergraduate Theses and Capstone Projects. 157. Retrieved 2022, December 12.
A Spectacle of Scoundrels Foer, Franklin. (2022, November 17). A Spectacle of Scoundrels. The Atlantic. Retrieved 2022, December 12.
Why some Arabs and Muslims feel stung by coverage of the Qatar World Cup Ebrahim, Nadeen and Al Lawati, Abbas. (2022, November 24). Why some Arabs and Muslims feel stung by coverage of the Qatar World Cup. CNN. Retrieved 2022, December 12.
Football corruption and the remarkable road to Qatar’s World Cup. Ronay, Barney. (2022, October 8). Football corruption and the remarkable road to Qatar’s World Cup. The Guardian. Retrieved 2022, December 12.
Morocco are rewriting what football means to an African Muslim like me. Ibrahim, Mina. (2022, December 11). Morocco are rewriting what football means to an African Muslim like me. The Athletic. Retrieved 2022, December 12. Podcasts
Brookings Podcast Network. (2022, December 5).
The economics of the World Cup. Retrieved 2022, December 11. https://www.brookings.edu/podcast-episode/the-economics-of-the-world-cup/
The New York Times. (2022, November 28).
Qatar’s big bet on the World Cup. Retrieved 2022, December 11. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/28/podcasts/the-daily/qatar-world-cup-2022.html
The Journal. (2022, November 21).
A controversial World Cup begins in Qatar. Retrieved 2022, December 11. https://www.wsj.com/podcasts/the-journal/a-controversial-world-cup-begins-in-qatar/e5a7536b-0aba-4a1f-8a0a-1f2210d22020
BBC. (2022, November 19).
Qatar and the fall of FIFA. Retrieved 2022, December 11. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0dhp38p
Crooked Media. (2022, November 17).
World Corrupt Episode 1: A toxic love affair between politics and sports. Retrieved 2022, December 11. https://www.podcastrepublic.net/podcast/1655202888 NLB eBooks