Fifa World Cup in Qatar kicks off to controversy
The Fifa World Cup in Qatar kicked off to controversy this week as European teams tried and failed to protest about the Gulf state’s criminalisation of homosexuality by pledging to wear rainbow-themed captains’ armbands during matches. The plan collapsed when football’s governing body said captains would receive yellow cards for wearing unapproved kit. Fifa drew criticism from all corners for its decision, but play commenced uninterrupted. Only the German Football Association has faced consequences so far, with supermarket group Rewe terminating their partnership as a result of the saga.In today’s World Cup briefing, sports editor Josh Noble asks what viewer capacity at Qatar’s eight World Cup venues tells us about the success of the tournament — it appears paying up is more important than showing up. And columnist Simon Kuper explains why, after attending nine World Cups, he thinks the real tournament takes place at home.My choices this week1. “It’s completely humiliating.” Correspondent Polina Ivanova reports from Moscow, where despite the drumbeat of state propaganda, the mood among Russians is one of low-level anxiety about the direction of the war in Ukraine.2. Longtime former Disney chief executive Bob Iger has stunned Hollywood by returning to replace his successor Bob Chapek after just 33 months. Iger has a deft touch, writes the FT’s editorial board, but as the streaming wars rage, can he restore stability at Disney?3. Looser Covid-19 control measures coupled with confusing signals from Beijing have stoked a growing Covid outbreak in China, with new cases nearing a record 30,000 per day. We report from the city of Shijiazhuang, which has shut down, opened up and closed again in just nine days.4. Is there a genuine appetite for renewables in Saudi Arabia? Officials say the kingdom is serious about tackling climate change at home, but continuing to export oil to the world is central to the country’s economic strategy, reports Middle East editor Andrew England.5. COP27 ended in tears and frustration, writes Camilla Hodgson from the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. After fraught, late-night negotiations, the nearly 200 nations failed to progress beyond the pledges made at last year’s summit to phase down coal power and fossil fuel subsidies.6. “There is no costume more traditional or more stagy, for people in power, than the costume of indifference.” In a fashion column, financial commentator Robert Armstrong dissects disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s scruffy uniform of T-shirt and shorts.Thanks for reading,PatrickPS Don’t miss our new app, FT Edit, which gives you access to eight articles that are handpicked by our editors every weekday. Invest your time in the stories that matter with our expert selection for just £0.99 per month for the first six months.Recommended newsletters for youIn Today’s FT — Your daily overview of FT’s top stories. Sign up hereWorld News — Get a global overview of the business stories you need to know

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