Reclaiming the Institution: The Best and Worst of the World… Cup

"We should remember that, in the end, the game exists for us and because of us, and that we have the right to demand that it be carried out with ethics and for the greater good, as the World Cup founder Jules Rimet believed it could and should be." - Laurent Dubois

With the World Cup approaching at an alarmingly overwhelming rate, it’s easy to get carried away by the giddy enthusiasm that trails football’s preeminent event. From organizing travel plans, to debating potential rosters or just surviving the last few rounds of qualification, we tend to focus on the World Cup more as a destination than as a social phenomenon which can have long-lasting effects on its participants. 

Sure, the flags, the face paint, music and the overall blending of cultures might be the most rewarding part of the World Cup, but the ugly machinations which go on behind-the-scenes deserve just as much attention. Whether it’s the hosting government displacing established populations to make room for stadiums, FIFA cornering nations into making concessions at the expense of their citizens, or any of the multitude of other ethically questionable realities which prop up FIFA and the World Cup as institutions, fans must come to terms with the reality that while we all claim that the World Cup is one of the world’s most inclusive and constructive events, that it is also one built on strife. This isn’t to say that fans face irreconcilable responses, but rather, that it is the responsibility of every football fan to acknowledge the circumstances and do their best to reclaim the game.

In this piece for Sports Illustrated’s new biweekly column covering the global game, The Far Post, our good friend Laurent Dubois discusses the World Cup as a representation of the best and worst of football. From the thrill of seeing an adopted nation near historic highs, to the nagging conscious that underlines each tournament, Dubois offers a story that can be difficult to stomach, but one that must be read. [Posted by Maxi

If this first piece is anything to judge by, you probably ought to keep an eye on The Far Post during their run-up to the World Cup. Also, be sure to visit Laurent’s site, Soccer Politics, for insightful discussions on race, economics and football. 

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