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At some point over its 64 matches, 3.2 billion people worldwide watched the last World Cup. That the love of watching football has that effect and allure on humanity is remarkable. Perhaps it is the fun and love of football many gain in childhood running around on makeshift fields, in yards, beaches, parks, driveways and streets. Or perhaps it is the live sporting action, which at its greatest, still always surprises.
Whatever it is, the bond of affection many supporters of the World Cup hold is stronger than our sense of right and wrong. Because how can so many of us love an event stained by such corruption, exclusion and violence?
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa), according to those who study it critically, is an unsavoury institution, incapable of policing itself. Prof Han Kogels, for example, points out, “Fifa and its subsidiaries are fully exempt from any tax whatsoever levied at whatever level, state level, municipality level, all sorts of taxes, consumption taxes, income taxes. You name it, it’s all exempt.”
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