This year’s FIFA showpiece is certain to be very different from its predecessors – and for a wide variety of reasons
A FIFA World Cup unlike any which has come before it is just days away from its first ball being kicked when host nation Qatar takes on Ecuador in the opening game.
That match will get the ball rolling for a tournament which has been mired in controversy ever since the Gulf state was first awarded hosting rights back in December 2010.
The month-long festival of football, designed to entertain and enthrall, has instead threatened to be overshadowed by a variety of factors.
Among them are the allegations of abuses of migrant workers who built the infrastructure, as well as stern warnings from equality groups about Qatar’s treatment of LGBT individuals.
The next few weeks will determine to what extent – if any – these concerns will be validated.
But amid the furrowed brows of the Western media, this edition of the World Cup also promises some unique storylines for football fans to tackle.
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