Top Stories

Must-See Video: Comedian Jon Oliver on FIFA and the World Cup


  1. I am tired about hearing about working conditions in Qatar. As if people can survive on the wages paid in retail in the USA. Can we in the USA really shake our heads at working conditions elsewhere?

    • I would not equate the issue of minimum wage in the United States (a very important issue, no doubt) with the modern day slavery and lack of basic protections afforded to workers in Qatar.

    • If they can’t survive on wages in the USA (comical statement, btw), then they can always resort to the safety hammock of welfare that you undoubtedly support.

    • This a pretty ignorant comment. It just shows you do not truly understand the working conditions issues in Qatar vs the minimum pay issues in the US. While I agree retail minimum pay issues are important in retailers such as (Walmart – minimal benefits and almost zero benefits leading to barely enough income to survive -> which is why I don’t shop there). Here in Qatar it’s (1) minimal rights (2) human labor conditions violations and (3) horrible conditions akin to or worse than slum like factory conditions in late 19th century America.

      It’s a whole different level. The deaths are not unique in Qatar.

    • that’s pushing it. despite retailers like Walmart causing the need for programs like welfare in the first place because they pay their employees $h!t and provide no benefits (opposite of places like Costco and Trader Joe’s), to equate that to what is happening in Qatar is a bit ridiculous.

      these people are living in rancid conditions and essentially being treated as slaves. some say they are not even able to leave because the Company has their paperwork. the Company is also covering up the deaths of these workers saying they died of natural causes. go watch the E60 report, do some reading from various places, and then come back and say pathetic US retail wages are as bad as Qatar’s working conditions.

  2. FIFA is appalling. The Qatar stuff is awful enough on its own, but I wasn’t aware of the Budwesier deal and Manaus stadium deal and such before now. I didn’t know there was NO OTHER TEAM to use the Manaus stadium post WC. Wow. Terrible.

    • Adding to the absurdity to Quatar, drinking in the entire country is illegal: a little thornier than just beer in stadia. But Quatar backed down too, with temporary “drinking zones” the agreed-upon solution.

      Frankly, essentially 100% of those traveling to a host country for this event want to drink during the game. And remember, it’s just not a game, but people’s vacation for which they spent a lot of money. This is the main deal.

      Budweiser pays money for Ads and signage; FIFA delivers this. Beer sales before and after the game are a non-factor. Sales during the game are inconsequential, especially given the amount consumed globally.

      If Brazil was inflexible with the law, the only solution would be to move the event, or up the bribe.

    • The thing with the Budweiser stuff is that it is Brasil’s fault. They signed off agreeing to allow beer in stadiums when they accepted the Cup. They then tried to go back on their word, a contract was signed. FIFA could’ve taken away the cup, if Brasil didn’t want beer they shouldn’t have agreed to host. FIFA is trash, but on this aspect everyone knew what they were getting into.

      • Whoa whoa whoa. Are you trying to say that if I have some policy in my house to protect my kids—say, ‘no smoking’—and then I voluntarily suspend that policy just so I can make money (money that my kids will never see) from some fleeting visitor, that somehow *my* morals are corrupt and reprehensible?!

        ‘Cause…yeah, I guess that’d be accurate.

  3. So unbelievably sad and telling. I wish Blatter would watch this (not that he would care or that it would change anything). On second thought, what’s the point?

    And, it’s SO true. Despite my loathing for FIFA, I am so ridiculously excited for the Cup. “Conflicting” is the perfect word….

    Go USA! I believe!

      • I’d agree with Lannister though when I thought about who Sepp Blatter would be all I could think of was Littlefinger.

  4. FIFA is cut from the same cloth as most every other NGO: smug, self-rightous, non-tax paying autocrats who tell the masses how to best run their lives, while socking away billions in filthy lucre.

    What compels people who have the power, to surrender it to a centralized authority is beyond me.

    Blatter positions himself as the “solution” to the problem, will run/be elected again, and coalesce power even more. Give me a leader who speaks truth to power: ” you (Blatter/Goverment/ etc.) are not a solution to the problem, you are the problem.”

    Blatter is at least a buffoon. Think of the “cult of personalities” working today that are still venerated. This includes charlatans who eat caviar on their jumbo jets and skip across the world, from one velvet rope event after another, picking up one honorarium or speaking fee after another, telling people how best to get to work to feed their families.

    • Hold on there, lots of NGO’s doing good things and don’t have a $1.4 billion war chest making money from countries that can’t afford it. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  5. Four Spots for the CONCA-kings under the sky,

    Five for the South American-lords in their stadia of stone,

    Thirteen for European Men doomed to fail,

    One for the Host Nation on his dark throne

    In the Land of FIFA where the Shadows lie.

    One Game to rule them all, One Game to find them,
    One Game to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

    In the Land of FIFA where the Shadows lie.

      • Well, the analogy really breaks down, because we’re talking about the governance of the sport, not the sport itself.

        If we were talking about the competition, I’d say that Klinsmann is Gandalf. He assembled a Fellowship that will achieve the impossible goal of winning the Cup. Of course he called in the expected great warriors—the scruffy loner and leader Aragorn (Dempsey); the tall, deft marksman Legolas (Bradley), and the unkempt and untiring Gimli (Beckerman). He’ll defeat old foes like the Balrog (Ghana) and surpass pessimistic leaders like Denethor (Arena). But it all rests, of course, on the shoulders of “the most unlikely of creatures”: Hobbits (Green and Yedlin).

        Then again, a lot on this site would say that Klinsmann is Saruman.

      • if klinsmann is Saruman, then is Donovan Gandalf? The old wizard leader who “dies” right before the journey, only to return as gandalf the white to lead them to victory (LD may return if someone gets injured)

      • I’m afraid that LD’s journey to Cambodia was not of the Balrog-conquering type. He’s more…Radagastian.

      • LD is Boromir. He began to think more of self than if the quest, and could no longer be part of the Fellowship.

      • I think you’re right. Plus, Boromir was the most experienced member of the Fellowship, having spent his whole life neighboring Mordor. He felt himself the rightful leader and heir, oblivious that Strider (Dempsey) was ready to claim the crown.

        And if Bruce Arena is Denethor…..

  6. Straight up gold.

    His “Net Neutrality” segment last week was genius as well.

    Keep fighting the good fight Mr. Oliver.

  7. Seriously though, if religion is a human construct by which we seek community and social justice then FIFA if probably better classified as a business, unless you consider trying to make as much money as possible social justice.

    • Hmmm I don’t think religion has much to do with justice anymore, at least not in this life. In fact (unfortunately) I think religion now is basically about money and control. “Don’t sin, but if you do we will forgive you as long as you show up every week and support the church.”

      Obviously religion may be more about justice in countries that do not separate church and state.

  8. FIFA as an organized religion is spot-on by John Oliver. I never thought about it that way. That’s exactly what it is.

    4,000 deaths by Qatar 2022? That’s beyond appalling. Imagine being able to prevent a war with that many deaths easily. I hate to say it, but the Corporate World and Corporate America are the only ones that can truly stop FIFA. I hope with Budweiser and Adidas making official statements about their concerns, the church of football will change working conditions or move the World Cup.

    • What is crazy is comparing the amount of US soldiers killed in combat in Afghanistan 2,229 and Iraq 4,488. 4,000 just for a World Cup?

  9. A very funny, very insightful, and very sad piece by John Oliver. I know that FIFA is corrupt and a terrible organization but I am so pumped for the World Cup.


Leave a Comment