Kickoff: On Sunday, the 2022 FIFA World Cup begins in Qatar. Every four years, men’s soccer takes the global stage in the world’s most-watched sporting event. While millions will be tuning in to cheer for their national teams, others are calling out the tournament’s politics and human rights issues.
Throughout its history, FIFA has been no stranger to red flags. Tournament after tournament, human rights orgs have criticized host countries and FIFA for everything from crackdowns on protests, to excessive police force, to forced displacement. So much so that the soccer org created a panel to address these issues. Then there’s the fact that some countries take on massive debt to essentially build one-time-use stadiums. And there have been disputes about how countries become hosts in the first place. For years, the Justice Dept has investigated allegations of corruption — including in Qatar and Russia, where representatives working for the countries have been accused of buying votes from FIFA officials. Now that the World Cup’s about to start, other issues have come to light.
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Where to begin? If you thought the most controversial aspect of this World Cup was that it's taking place in winter — think again. Soccer's greatest athletes were spared from working in Qatar's brutal summer heat (think: 120 degrees). But the same consideration wasn't given to the more than 6,500 migrants workers who died from causes like dehydration and heat exhaustion while building Qatar's eight World Cup stadiums. That's not all: There have been claims that migrant workers were harassed, housed in unsafe conditions, underpaid (or not paid), stripped of their passports, and sent home without warning. Plus, some fans have raised safety concerns — given reports of the country’s “deep discrimination” against women (see: its male guardianship rules) and its criminalization of homosexuality. On Friday, Qatar suddenly said ‘nope’ to alcohol in the stadiums, causing some to worry about what other decisions could be made at the last minute. Then, in hour-long remarks at the tournament’s opening press conference on Saturday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino called out the “hypocrisy” and “moral lesson-giving” of Western countries. He added that “everyone’s security is guaranteed.”
What happens now?
While FIFA has urged fans and teams to put politics aside, some aren’t willing to do that. Several French cities and London won’t broadcast the competition on giant screens in protest of Qatar’s alleged human rights abuses. Denmark’s national team will have the option to wear an all-black kit designed to call attention to the fact that the tournament “has cost thousands of people their lives.” The US team is showing LGBTQIA+ solidarity with a rainbow-themed logo in their media room and training facility. And several European captains are planning to wear rainbow arm bands on the field — even though it may be against FIFA’s rules. More protests could come once the World Cup kicks off.
Global sporting events are an opportunity for the world to come together. But they often take place amid a backdrop of forced displacements, human trafficking, and shady politics. In Qatar, it’s unclear if the roar of the crowd will drown out the more serious issues at play.
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Downtime doesn’t have to mean doing nothing. Here’s one idea for making the most of your weekend.
Thanksgiving is just five days away. And, let’s face it, whether you’re hosting your first Friendsgiving or your fifth Thanksgiving, things could get stressful. But they don’t have to get that stressful. Here are our top tips:
Be sure to delegate. If you’re hosting the big meal, assign cocktails (or mocktails) to one friend or family member, apps to another, and dessert to a third. Or, team up with others and make it a progressive dinner party — meaning, going to one person’s home for drinks and apps, another’s for the main course, and another’s for dessert.
Try new things. Who says the holiday demands turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes? This year, switch things up and go the non-traditional route. Ask each guest to bring the dish that they were most grateful for in 2022. Or ones that nod to their heritage orhome state.
There’s nothing wrong with shortcuts. Save time, energy, and oven space by making a few dishes in advance — from sweet potato casserole to cranberry sauce to pumpkin cheesecake. You could also take it a step further and put together a mostly store-bought spread. Hey, if it’s good enough for Ina Garten, it’s good enough for us.
Remember: It’s not just about the meal. Take some time to celebrate what you’re thankful for. That could mean covering your table with a sheet of butcher paper and asking everyone to write down one or two things they’re grateful for. Or it could mean asking everyone to make a Thanksgiving toast. And post-feast, fight your food coma with a few fun games or activities.
Here are today’s recs to help you live a smarter life…
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