Inequality is the Undercurrent at FIFA’s World Cup

Corruption, as rampant as it might be, is just one of the institutional failings of soccer’s global governing body. FIFA’s marked lack of accountability has also led to labor abuses on a grand scale.

The news outlet Publica exposed the exploitation of workers building the tournament infrastructure ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The employees constructing the stadiums — already controversial due to the displacement of low-income Brazilians and the destruction of the Amazon — told reporters of horrific working conditions and inhumane working hours. Workers went on strike at least 10 times to protest for their rights on the job.

Human Rights Watch released a report for the 2018 World Cup in Russia detailing their own documentation of labor abuses. The organization, using evidence from a trade union tasked with monitoring labor conditions, found that at least 17 workers had died while building stadiums for the

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