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Does Sportswashing Work?

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Does sportswashing work?

Earlier this week, Rishi Sunak got some heat for daring to praise the Qatar World Cup.

He posted a short video and wrote “Hats off to Qatar for hosting an incredible World Cup so far”.

If that did wonders for UK/Qatari diplomacy, it probably didn’t do much for his own approval ratings.

Plainly, the decision to award the tournament to Qatar (back in 2010), ahead of the US, Australia, Japan and others, was about money.

From a PR point of view, it was also a bold gamble that commercial concerns would fade in the heat of progress, as Qatar was forced by the glare of the world into becoming more progressive.

Not much sign of that so far, but then, someone pointed out that homosexuality was still illegal in the UK when England won the World Cup in 1966. (That’s shocking but true.)

For our Find Out Now poll this week we asked:

Has the 2022 FIFA World Cup made you less or more favourable about Qatar as a nation?

Nearly a third of us like Qatar even less than we did. Only 3% are more favourable.

Maybe the truth is that sports washing only works if you’re a well-known villain.

Perhaps before the World Cup the thing we most associated with Qatar was an airline, not human rights abuses.

You can see the full results below.


Press release of the day

The North East is leading the charge on electric vehicle infrastructure, says this from VW, ahead of London.

The uptake of electric cars is on course to hit net zero targets, but some regions are falling behind.

Mike Todd, CEO at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, said: “It is gratifying that the overall trend of adoption remains strong and puts the UK on course to meet the net zero target of 2032. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to assume that there is not still a long way to go.”

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Are job cuts looming at City broker Numis?

2) What are the chances of Trump going to prison?

3) Does China relaxing Covid rules help or hurt the world economy?


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