From Harper’s Weekly Review:
The quadrennial World Cup soccer championship kicked off in Qatar, which had never qualified for the tournament before winning the right to host in 2010 through bribery, and where more than 6,500 migrant workers have died in the ensuing 12 years. Matches took place in eight newly constructed or refurbished stadiums, built in part by enslaved non-native laborers. FIFA, whose president had said he would be open to North Korea hosting the tournament in the interest of “unit[ing] the world,” warned Qatari authorities not to arrest female rape victims and published a series of false attendance figures for early games. Qatar promised refunds to fans who paid $200 a night to stay in converted shipping containers, not all of which were finished in time, and the FIFA app crashed, preventing thousands of supporters from accessing their tickets. Because homosexual relations between men is criminalized in the kingdom, Welsh fans and staff had their rainbow bucket hats confiscated, the Belgian team was forced to remove the word LOVE from their jerseys, and players were told that they would receive yellow cards if they wore antidiscrimination armbands; English fans who threw paper planes at U.S. fans whilst chanting “9/11” were not penalized.