Israeli raid on Palestinian soccer club signals dangerous hardening of Israeli-Palestinian battle lines

By James M. Dorsey A soccer brawl in Israel’s politically most loaded derby and an alleged subsequent raid by the Israeli military on the offices of Israel’s foremost Palestinian soccer club reflects a hardening of the Israeli-Palestinian divide as Israel debates legislation that would emphasize the Jewish national rather than the democratic nature of the … [Read more…]

Moroccan refusal to host African Cup rooted in fear and prejudice

By James M. Dorsey A refusal by Morocco to host next month’s 2014 African Cup of Nations soccer tournament for fear that it could import the Ebola virus from West Africa spotlights complex relations between the continent’s Arab and sub-Saharan nations as well as the non-transparent inner workings of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), … [Read more…]

Qatar’s hosting of GCC summit in further jeopardy following Gulf states’ handball boycott

By James M. Dorsey A decision by the handball federations of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to boycott the 2015 World Men’s Handball Championship to be hosted by Qatar in January signals the failure of efforts to reconcile the idiosyncratic Gulf state with its regional detractors and casts further doubts on the prospects of … [Read more…]

Volleyball federation sanctions Iran in new assertiveness on women’s sporting rights

By James M. Dorsey The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has warned Iran that it would be stripped of its right to host the 2015 Under-19 men’s world volleyball championship if it bans women from attending matches. The warning signals a new assertiveness driven by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make adherence to human, gender … [Read more…]

Qatar at a crossroads: Reform labour laws or risk revived calls for relocating the World Cup

By James M. Dorsey Qatar, caught in a Catch-22 between a requirement to quickly reform its labour system in a bid to convince human rights and trade union activists that it is serious and the need domestically to proceed slowly, risks losing goodwill it has built in recent years that could further fuel demands to … [Read more…]