The Scene:

The 2018 World Cup Round of 8 begins on Friday, moving the world one step closer to crowning its champion nation. This year’s World Cup has been one of underdogs (like Croatia, Mexico, and Japan) and controversy. Rumors tying FIFA to a Russian doping cover-up have tainted this tournament in many fans’ eyes. As such, we gauge the perceived values college students see in the FIFA World Cup.

The Takes:

University of Florida Alligator: Mark Stine believes that “we may be witnessing the greatest World Cup of all-time, and it might be a farce.”

•    “The host nation of Russia upsetting Spain and moving on to the quarterfinals, may be tainted with the wrongdoings of the host country and the organization presiding over the festivities.”

•    “And apparently, FIFA has known about many of these scandals for over a year, but hasn’t made any disciplinary actions.”

•    “FIFA’s lack of involvement in a situation with so many red flags shows that nothing has really changed since the organization’s president Gianni Infantino was elected to replace the corrupt Sepp Blatter administration.”

Berkeley Political Review: Jay Jung investigates “the dark side of the World Cup.”

•    As Qatar prepares to host the 2022 World Cup “the country has managed to erect new cities and stadiums seemingly overnight.” However, “these buildings come at a tremendous cost.”

•    “Qatar has relied heavily on international labor, with Qatari citizens only accounting for 10% of its total labor force…Unfortunately, these migrant workers and laborers face constant exploitation, mistreatment, and poor working conditions.”

•    “It appears as though FIFA’s rhetorical pressure on Qatar has failed to promote any changes and leaves the image that FIFA is not doing enough to combat the death and mistreatment of thousands of workers in preparation of the World Cup.”

USC Daily Trojan: Tomas Mier experiences the World Cup’s positive impact and through a “message of hope.”

•    When Mexico defeated Germany in the 2018 World Cup, “every commentator, every analyst, every Mexican person with a realistic mentality believed that pulling off a win — or even a tie — would be nearly impossible.”

•    “For Mexicans in the U.S., the national team is holy,” and therefor “Mexico’s lone goal against Germany provided hope for these people.”

•    “The national team and the World Cup not only provide hope, but they also unite people: cooks and construction workers, landscapers and housekeepers, undocumented immigrants and legal residents. It reminds people of why they came to the U.S..”

The Bottom Line:

FIFA’s rampant corruption has become a major cause of concern for soccer fans. Students are worried about human rights violations committed by host nations as well as the larger integrity of the tournament itself. Despite these apprehensions, the World Cup remains the world’s premier sporting event. Tournament victories bring pride to entire nations on the largest stage, showing that the Cup does still hold tremendous value to billions around the world. 

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