A steep price for the games

If Lusail sounds like Sochi on steroids, that's because it is. Though most World Cup and Olympic host countries have ramped up on investments for each respective event in recent years, Qatar is looking to dwarf the billions that Russia poured into its Olympics.


In light of the sheer capital required to pull off such a scheme, other cities are quickly dropping their bids to become the next host for the Olympics. And only countries that have the billions needed to pull it off are still jockeying for position.

The Olympics and the World Cup, two events held up as beacons of international cooperation and urban development, are increasingly limited to the realm of nations who have the power—and thus the cash—to actually afford to host them. As one Russian activist put it last year, after human rights abuses were reported amongst migrant workers at Sochi, these events are "like drugs for dictators."


To a certain extent, whether or not these abuses continue depends on whether or not the world keeps showing up for these events. It's easy to be outraged right now, but in the end, it all comes down to those two weeks in 2022. Ultimately, it's the audience itself that has to decide what kinds of abuse they're willing to stomach for a sport.

Lead image: Cassim Shepard.