Simply Sportswashing?—A Perspective on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

The concept of “sportswashing,” in exposing how states or corporations use sporting events to cleanse their images on international stages, draws our attention to human rights abuses, labor conditions, political repression and the regulation of social behavior. Yet, examining the language around Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, the collective Habibi FC notes how this critique is unevenly deployed—sportswashing is most frequently applied to (non-white) countries from the Global South and partakes in a larger discourse of the “West vs. the rest.” Habibi FC call for a more nuanced use of the term, one that does not depend on Orientalist binaries and enables us to better see Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup as a strategic calculation: risking its moral image to project competence and gain global influence.


Pin It on Pinterest