What’s the cost of Qatar’s World Cup?

The country’s human rights record and politics have overshadowed the start of the football tournament.

What’s the cost of Qatar’s World Cup?

The Qatar World Cup, which began on Sunday 20 November, has been marred in controversy, from the country’s oppression of LGBT+ people and women to a last-minute decision to ban sales of beer inside stadiums. Thousands of migrant workers are believed to have died during construction of the stadiums, and others employed as security guards appear to be paid as little as 35p an hour. Gianni Infantino, the president of Fifa, who is paid about £2.6m this year, defended the tournament in a rant in which he said he feels “like a migrant worker”.

Ido Vock in Berlin, Megan Gibson in London and Katie Stallard in Washignton DC discuss Fifa’s defence and the attempt by some politicians to “keep politics out of sport”, how individual teams have and have not shown real moral courage, and the power of sport to affect political change.

Next, Megan reports on her trip to Brussels, where she interviewed Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary-general. The team discuss his unwavering support for Ukraine, the prospect for negotiations and the state of the Western alliance.

Then, in You Ask Us, a listener asks what role the Wagner Group plays in Russia’s war effort.

If you have a question for You Ask Us, go to newstatesman.com/youaskus

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Read more:

Katie on what the World Cup tells us about power.

Megan on why Iran’s brave act of defiance puts England to shame.

Megan interviews Jens Stoltenberg.

Katie asks if Volodymyr Zelenksy is losing the support of the West in Ukraine.

Ido on the brutal methods of Russia’s Wagner group.

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