Bahraini soccer players have sought in recent statements to absolve Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president and world soccer body FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a member of the Gulf island's ruling family, of any moral or direct responsibility for the arrest, dismissal and abuse of hundreds of sports executives and athletes accused of having protested against repressive and discriminatory rule.
Embattled World Cup host Qatar is sending contradictory messages as it struggles with demands to improve migrant labour conditions and mounting questions about the integrity of its successful FIFA bid, confronts the fall-out of dropping energy prices, and seeks to project itself as both a key Western ally and a useful conduit to more militant Islamist forces.
Never missing an opportunity to shoot itself in the foot, 2022 World Cup-host Qatar has adopted a new law that is more likely to convince critics that it aims to put a friendly face on its controversial kafala or sponsorship system rather than radically reform a legal framework that trade unions and human rights activists have dubbed modern slavery.
A Swiss government-sponsored unit of the Paris-based OECD has defined world soccer body FIFA as a multi-national bound by the group's guidelines. As a result, the group concluded that FIFA is responsible for the upholding of the human and labour rights of workers employed in Qatar on 2022 World Cup-related projects.
Israel's most notorious soccer fan group, La Familia, known for its militant racism against Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, has put itself in the firing line as Israeli-Palestinian confrontations threaten to spark a third Intifada or popular Palestinian uprising on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.