EVENT: The World Cup and the Geopolitics of International Sports

EVENT: The World Cup and the Geopolitics of International Sports

EVENT: The World Cup and the Geopolitics of International Sports

Soft Power Competition:
The World Cup and the Geopolitics of International Sports

December 16, 12:00 PM (Eastern) via Zoom


Dr. Heather Dichter
Associate Professor of Sport History and Sport Management, De Montfort University

The Right Honourable Jim Murphy
Managing Director, Arden Strategies
Author and former Secretary of State of Scotland, UK

Moderated by

Mr. Nicholas Thompson
CEO, The Atlantic
Trustee, NCAFP


The World Cup is the largest sporting event on the planet. FIFA, established in 1904 as the international governing body of the quadrennial match, pre-dates and boasts having more member countries than the United Nations. From this perspective, football (soccer in the US) can bridge political divides, build national pride, and support a world community of sports enthusiasts and spectators. However, this year, the usual conversations surrounding star players and winning predictions are just as passionately spoken about as bribery scandals, migrant labor, LGBTQ+ rights, and surprisingly, beer consumption.

Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino, president of FIFA, declared that politics should be kept separate from the World Cup. Is this possible? Historically, has football been a political or diplomatic tool? How should sports and politics entwine on the international stage?  Is Qatar 2022 a case of ‘sports washing’ or a chance for improved relations? What lessons about global affairs can political leaders garner from international sports like the World Cup or the Olympics? And, what advice can leaders impart to the sporting community?

Helping us to analyze the correlations and drivers between sports and politics is Dr. Heather Dichter, Associate Professor of Sport History and Sport Management in the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK; and the Right Honourable Jim Murphy, Managing Director of Arden Strategies, former Secretary of State of Scotland, and author of the 2014 book, The Ten Football Matches That Changed The World...And The One That Didn't. Moderating the discussion is Mr. Nicholas Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic and NCAFP Trustee.


The event will be conducted via the video conferencing platform Zoom, which works on PC, Mac, or mobile devices. You do not need to create an account to use it. Guests will have the option to join the meeting through the Zoom application, or by calling in by phone.

In order to streamline the Q&A portion of the conversation, all guests will have their video feeds disabled.  We ask that guests submit all questions through the Q&A function or the chat box.  If you don't wish to use these functions, or will join by phone, please submit questions in advance or real time to contact@ncafp.org .


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