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Suspicions of corruption continue to surround the FIFA World Cup. Photo: Pixabay.

Power games: Beyond the sport of soccer

Two World Cups that shouldn't have been. This is what happens when football is mixed with politics.

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Being a soccer fan, it is sad to recognize that acts of corruption are common in the upper echelons of the sport. The World Cup is not exempt from controversies, bribes to assign venues, the diversion of capital for the organization of the event, or worse, human rights violations.

Two World Cups that shouldn't have been

Argentina 1978 was the "World Cup of Peace," as then-dictator Jorge Videla called it in the company of the Brazilian leader Joâo Havelange, who attended his first World Cup as president of FIFA. For many, it was an opportunity for a government, accused of murders, torture and disappearances, to wash its image internationally.

While in the Monumental stadium of Buenos Aires they concentrated around football, the renowned mothers of the Plaza de Mayo denounced the cruelties of the dictatorship to the world.
 
In addition to the horror that was lived in the streets, disguised with the local passion for the game, the football was also tainted as the Peruvian team was visited by Videla in their dressing room during a game's intermission. The match ended with a scandalous win that allowed Argentina to advance on goal difference.
 
Another World Cup that should not have been was Russia 2018. Like the next World Cup in Qatar, the recent Russian competition has been in the sights of the authorities and press for the alleged bribes made to ensure its status as host. Although almost four years have passed, justice has not stopped in its attempt to show that the election was flawed.

balón oficial de Rusia 2018

According to an investigation that came to light in 2020, Russia paid bribes to personalities, such as the deceased Julio Grondona, from Argentina, and Nicolás Leoz, from Paraguay, and Jack Warner, former president of CONCACAF, who allegedly received $5 million.

A World Cup that could have been

Mexico 1986 was the famous World Cup of the "hand of God," which saw Diego Armando Maradona consecrate himself as the best soccer player in the world. The truth is that it could have been different if it had been played in the country originally assigned.

It was originally supposed to be in Colombia, but allegations of corruption caused the competition to be moved. The president of Colombia, Belisario Betancur, resigned from the board of the event through a televised address arguing that the demands of FIFA were "extravagances."
 
Qatar 2022: the World Cup that shouldn't be?

Due to the suspicions of corruption and bribery to win the status as host, calls to the organizations have intensified over human rights and LGBTQ+ issues in Qatar.

avión con publicidad de Qatar 2022 sobrevuela Qatar

Add the fact that at least three workers have died while constructing stadiums in the Arab country, and the calls have grown hard for the world to ignore.

Less than a year away, FIFA will likely continue to organize the first World Cup on Arab soil, regardless of the suspicions or criticisms surrounding the event. The amount of money being moved is large enough to make many look the other way.

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