Qatari backtracking on labour rights and cooperation with Russia reflects new world order

By James M. Dorsey A Qatari decision to backtrack on minimal improvements of the terms of employment of migrant workers, who account for a majority of the Gulf state’s population, and a Qatari investment in Russian oil company Rosneft PJSC, symbolize the emergence of a new global power structure with the rise of populists in … [Read more…]

Qatari and FIFA pledges on worker rights have little impact on construction companies

By James M. Dorsey A recent survey of construction companies involved in World Cup-related infrastructure projects in Qatar raises questions about whether the Gulf state and world soccer body FIFA are doing all that could do to enforce international standards for the living and working conditions of migrant workers as well as adherence to human … [Read more…]

Soccer privatization: A template for Saudi reform

By James M. Dorsey Saudi Arabia has approved the privatization of state-owned sports clubs as part of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s drive to streamline bureaucracy, curb public spending, diversify the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy, and upgrade its autocracy. The effort to clean up the sports sector follows the rare admission earlier this year of … [Read more…]

Creating a legal precedent: Palestine considers suing Israel in international sports court

By James M. Dorsey The Palestine Football Association (PFA), in a first testing of Palestine’s ability to fight its battle with Israel in international courts, plans to go to the world’s top court for sports in a bid to force its Israeli counterpart to view Israeli settlements on the West Bank as occupied territory rather … [Read more…]

Under pressure, Egyptian president promises change

By James M. Dorsey Faced with a drop in popularity, intermittent protests against rising prices, and calls for a mass anti-government demonstration, Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, is seeking to appease the country’s youth, soccer fans and activists with promises of change. Mr. Al-Sisi’s efforts that include a one-time lifting of a ban on spectators … [Read more…]