About World Corrupt
The world’s most-watched sporting competition this year will not be a feel-good affair. FIFA, soccer’s corrupt governing body, awarded the 2022 edition of the World Cup to Qatar via bribery. The teams, players, and fans of the game must now grapple with the complexities of an ethically fraught, morally bankrupt tournament already soaked in blood and oil– a sportswashed public relations exercise for Qatar that has cost an untold amount of migrant workers their lives since the announcement was made. This dilemma is at the core of World Corrupt, a joint effort from Men in Blazers and Crooked Media. The series will be hosted by two friends, Men in Blazers’ Roger Bennett and Pod Save the World’s Tommy Vietor. Roger’s deep understanding of football history and Tommy’s geopolitical analysis will combine to help listeners understand the tectonic plates shifting under the sporting events they love, and empower them to simultaneously revel in the sporting genius on display, and take action against the grave injustices that have been wrought.
Tommy and Rog examine a tournament in which politics, sport and humanity have all been laid bare; USMNT captain Tyler Adams' leadership and poise when answering questions from Iran's state-run media; and what political and social scrutiny the United States could face as co-host for the 2026 World Cup.
With the beginning of the tournament just over two weeks away, Tommy and Roger dig into the significance of athlete activism as they learn more about the dangerous and abusive living situations faced by migrant workers. Formerly imprisoned migrant worker Malcolm Bidali recounts the abuses he suffered in Qatar. Human rights activists Nick McGeehan and May Ramanos also join to articulate how and why athletes and fans alike need to keep the pressure on FIFA even after the World Cup concludes.
Tommy and Roger consider the complexities and deadly consequences of Qatar hosting the World Cup. You’ll hear from human rights activists and experts about what life is like in Qatar for migrant workers, and from Norwegian FIFA president Lise Klaveness and pro footballers Megan Rapinoe and Tim Sparv about the power of sports activism in the fight for justice.
Tommy and Roger look at how a country roughly the size of Connecticut with documented human rights violations was awarded the World Cup bid. They’re joined by Tariq Panja of the New York Times to discuss FIFA’s corrupt history, and global sports expert Simon Chadwick to explain the concept of sportswashing and why Qatar would want hosting duties in the first place.
Roger and Tommy dig into the history of FIFA, the governing body of international football, and trace FIFA's long history of corruption up to the moment they awarded the World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar. Tariq Panja of The New York Times shares insight into how FIFA operates and former Justice Department official Matt Miller recounts the misconduct he witnessed firsthand at a World Cup bid.
This fall, when the eyes of the world turn towards Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a shadow looms over the tournament, which is one of the most watched events in the world. The sports landscape being co-opted for geo-political and corporate gain is nothing new, but this year's iteration of football's biggest competition may be the most expensive example to date. Pod Save the World’s Tommy Vietor and Roger Bennett of Men in Blazers join forces to unravel the riddle of how to enjoy the game we love while holding the powers that control it accountable for their corruptive policies and practices. On this inaugural episode of World Corrupt, a collaboration from Men in Blazers Media Network and Crooked Media, the two hosts share the memories that helped them first fall in love with soccer, while also looking back into the annals of history at past instances of a phenomenon known as "sportswashing.”
Soccer is a game which has often been called “the world’s most important least important thing.” However this November’s World Cup, the most-watched sporting competition on the planet, forces fans to grapple with the complexities of a tournament which has been twisted into a public relations exercise for Qatar, a country smaller than the state of Connecticut, with a shocking human rights record, that has built the tournament’s infrastructure with migrant labor practices that have been likened to modern slavery. This dilemma is at the core of World Corrupt, a six-episode collaboration from Men in Blazers Media Network and Crooked Media. Starting October 8, Men in Blazers’ Roger Bennett and Pod Save the World’s Tommy Vietor will join forces to explore what it means to be a fan and a responsible citizen of the world while navigating a sports landscape that is increasingly being co-opted for geo-political and corporate gain.
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