Oct 17, 2022 - Sports

Fox Sports' World Cup coverage will stick to soccer

Soccer players

German players wear shirts that spell out "Human Rights" prior to a World Cup qualifying match in March. Photo: Tobiss Schwarz/Getty Images

Next month's World Cup is one of the most controversial ever due to host nation Qatar's human rights record, but Americans won't hear about that while watching the games.

What they're saying: Fox Sports executive producer David Neal told the Philadelphia Inquirer that its World Cup coverage will focus only on soccer.

  • "Our approach is clear, and it's identical to what it was four years ago in Russia," Neal said.
  • "If a story affects the field of play, if it affects the competition in the tournament, we will cover it fully. If it doesn't, if it’s ancillary to the tournament, if it has to do with the construction of the venues or what have you, we're going to leave that to other entities to cover. Our focus is entirely on the 64-game tournament."

The backdrop: Qatar has been under the microscope for its human rights abuses and mistreatment of migrant workers since winning this bid back in 2010.

  • Over 6,500 migrant workers died in Qatar over the past decade, per The Guardian, and a "significant portion" of those deaths stemmed from building World Cup infrastructure.
  • Women's rights in Qatar are severely curtailed due to its guardianship system, and homosexual relations are punishable by up to seven years in prison, per Human Rights Watch.
  • Qatar is also believed to have bribed FIFA to win its bid, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York Times reported.

State of play: Not everyone is taking the same "stick to soccer" approach. Some European cities won't screen matches in public places, Denmark will make a statement with its jerseys and nine European captains plan to wear rainbow armbands in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

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