8 June 2018

Africa: Enjoy the Goals, Remember the Jails - a Brief Guide to Russia 2018

analysis

A view of a flag with the logo of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in front of Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 07 June 2018. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

The World Cup is a welcome recess from the commodification of the Beautiful Game.

Modern soccer has many faces.

It has been corrupted by FIFA, and obscene wealth has alienated players from the lives of the masses who support them.

Yet the cracks still let some light in. Soccer fashioned on resistance and joy on the fields and squares of the global south is still delivered into stadiums built on European power.

These many faces will again be on display when 32 teams step out into the Russian summer for the FIFA World Cup.

The globalisation of soccer means that clubs no longer represent the communities in which they were born. Instead, they have become brands for sale on the world market.

The world cup is a welcome recess from the commodification of the game, however.

The spectacle will call attention to the fault lines along which the many remain separated from the few: it offers a chance to measure the participating teams on their politics.

So, where should this measurement begin?

In the...

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