2022 FIFA World Cup: Authenticity in Football

Frederik Wolf Windum

Student thesis: Master thesis


With an estimated 4 billion global followers (Sawe, 2018), football is the biggest sport in the world, with the biggest fanbase, and at the center of football sits the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body of association football. The biggest football event in the world is the FIFA World Cup, a tournament that in 2018, when Russia was the host of the finals, had a combined record of 3.572 billion people from all over the world watching the tournament (“More than half the world,” 2018). The FIFA World Cup is a sporting event that once every four years brings countries from all around the globe together to compete for the iconic World Cup Trophy designed by Italian Silvio Gazzaniga (Appendix: II.VI. Silvio Gazzaniga's World Cup Trophy). The 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup is set to be played in Qatar in 2022, as Qatar in 2010 was awarded with the hosting of the event. The choice to award Qatar with the hosting of the 2022 World Cup has sparked controversy around the world for several, both footballing and political, reasons. Politicians, fans and the general public has called for the international governing body of association football, FIFA, to choose another host, or demanding that their own national governing body of football should boycott the World Cup if FIFA chose to deny changing hosts. The Qatar-case has raised questions as to what the sport of football can do and should be used to. In Denmark, on the fifth of January 2019, this trend of political fans meant that Danish Superliga club, F.C. Copenhagen, announced that they will not travel to Dubai anymore: “In connection with this winter's planned training camp for Dubai, there has been much debate and criticism from FC Copenhagen fans about the choice of destination over the problems surrounding human rights in the United Arab Emirates. FC Copenhagen's sporting management, with manager Ståle Solbakken in the lead, has on this basis chosen not to travel on training camps to Dubai in the coming years.” (“FCK Will Not Travel,” 2019). It is a new tendency that fans react so strongly on their teams’ choices, and with politics’ role in football and vice versa, it’s an area that I find interesting and relevant, and therefore my main research question is: What has FIFA’s choice to award Qatar with the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup meant for the world of football? Furthermore, I will find out which influence the voice of the fans have on the world of football? And finally, whether the authenticity is fading out of football and what consequences that might have for the sport?

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages126
SupervisorsSven Junghagen