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How The Athletic will be covering the World Cup – and navigating the moral issues


It all feels a little confusing, right?

You want to watch the World Cup, you want to have fun, but well, it feels so… wrong. , Gareth Southgate’s five-back, Cristiano Ronaldo’s acting, or Greg Verhalter’s obsession with possession football will send angry messages to family and work colleagues.

But that doesn’t mean you’re as excited as usual. We are now saying that it shouldn’t be held. World Cup-winning captain Hugo Lloris disregarding human rights, or FIFA president Gianni Infantino telling people to focus on football for one minute. or tell Russia and Ukraine to suspend their wars, it doesn’t mean you can’t believe it. .

And that makes it difficult. I know I found it difficult and not just because I am gay. Because I love soccer. This could be Lionel Messi’s glorious swan song, Brazil’s thrilling renaissance, or Kylian Mbappe’s chance to make defenders look ridiculous again.

Will this be the year Messi lifts the World Cup? (Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

And we’ve been grappling with the question of how to cover it: Should we send reporters to Qatar? Boycott the name of the country so it’s not complicit in sportswashing?

To be clear, I don’t think there is a simple “right” answer, but this is what we decided.

We send journalists to the convention.

Some write about great games and goals, others break stories about lineups and fallout. Additionally, some offer in-depth podcasts, videos, and articles about football with the kind of insane detail you’d expect. athletic.

But many wonder what’s going on off the pitch, the fact that some LGBT+ fans have to stay safe in their homes, the families of workers who died during the construction of the stadium, and the need to bring the tournament to Qatar. You’ll notice the ridiculous politics it brought. about the realities of life for the women who live there, and will continue to do so after the circus leaves full.

Being on the ground helps clarify things and tell the right stories. And we do.

We’ve already written quite a few reports (and I’ve put some links at the end of this post if you’d like to read them), but there’s still a lot to do.

If you feel offended, understand the seriousness of the problem, feel the need to offset football’s worth of carbon footprint by supporting human rights charities, or actually boycott it. If you want to understand if you need to help one navigate it.

My instinct is that it’s okay to feel both ways. It’s not your fault that this tournament was held in Qatar. After a global pandemic, the UK’s Brexit, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and now a World Cup cycle marked by a cost of living crisis, not being able to enjoy the escapism of football is certainly a problem. A punishment no one deserves.

Football is usually a great way to escape from all the reality and horrors that normal life can bring.

This World Cup blurs that line more than ever.

I hope you feel that you are balanced.

What about those who want to focus solely on football? I hope this gets you excited enough to preemptively call me to work sick for a month so I can smother myself with our readings, podcasts, and videos .

  • Guest writer. After Yaya Toure’s success at last year’s European Championships, another great player and manager has written a column and appeared on a podcast. Stay tuned for the announcement tomorrow (November 17th). There really is something for everyone.
  • The rest of the journalists! We have a large and talented team in Doha and we are working hard to bring you podcasts, videos, live streams on social media and of course analysis, news and long reading from the tournament big stories. . We also have expats in Dubai, Argentina, the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain to help tell the stories others won’t tell. In particular, look out for Simon Hughes’ dispatch from Nepal and Adam Crafton’s wonderful storytelling to Suriname. In the meantime, follow our two writers on their crazy journey into tournaments.
  • Please follow the game with us.we know most of you come to athletic Find insider information, analysis and stories not available elsewhere. But we’ve also spent a lot of time improving the live experience this year. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy the game with us. Use the match experience (click on the game at the top of the home screen below) as the perfect second screen for xG, live detailed stats, tables, analytics and more.
  • Also, I think there are many people watching the World Cup through the lens of the club. So if Virgil van Dijk starts playing in the Dutch midfield, it explains to the Liverpool fans if that could be the case under Jürgen Klopp as well. If it looks like, he’ll make sure his Chelsea boss Graham Potter takes notes.
  • Radar is back (November 18th). If you don’t know what it is, watch Euro 2020 and get excited about the World Cup version. It looks better, is easier to read, covers more countries, and is interactive. It’s the best way to understand the players you see on TV.
  • If you don’t already know Tifo’s YouTube channel, please do. The documentary on Qatar is excellent, and the daily analysis videos on the big game are clever, entertaining, and easy to digest.
  • Also keep an eye out for the tournament’s daily instructional videos. This reduces big issues into digests that are easy to understand.
  • There are podcasts for every type of fan. James Richardson and The Totally Football Show tapes every night after the game, The Athletic Football Podcast every morning (recorded from Qatar) and The Athletic Soccer Show primarily focuses on his USMNT.
  • We have a data-driven newsletter to help you understand what’s happening on the pitch and the trends that affect your team. You can sign up from the Athletic account settings button, so be sure to sign up.
  • For Twitter users, Carl Duck, Chaoime O’Neal When Adam Leventhal It guides you through each morning’s schedule in UK time.
  • Last but not least, our silly but awesome football emergency hotline. This will help you work out those parts of the game that you’re too embarrassed to ask your friends. You can always call a specialist. In the UK he is on 08000433433 and from abroad he can be called +442032828156.

Finally, here are some things you might want to read while waiting for the big kickoff. There are many more to come.

And let us know how you feel in the comments.

Like I said, I know I struggle with it. I hope you will find joy and excitement in the ugliness.

As always, we do our best to keep you informed and entertained.

Thank you for your continued support. It means the world to us.


(Photo: Getty Images; Design: Sam Richardson)

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