Soccer in Yemen
Yemen's young footballers give the country hope
Little football has been played in war-torn Yemen since 2014. Yet with the ceasefire holding and the Under-17s narrowly missing World Cup qualification, the beautiful game could help bring some joy and unity to a divided country. By John Duerden
Sisi's grand economic plan
Rediscovering sport in Egypt
With its 2030 Strategic Vision, President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's regime is turning the spotlight of government attention onto Egypt's sporting sector. The aim? To underpin the country's foreign and domestic political objectives using alternative sources of income.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Newcastle Utd
Saudi Arabia's sports binge
After years of relentless spending, Saudi Arabia is now a central player in the world's most lucrative sports. Critics say it is sportswashing, but is there an economic payoff that makes it all worth it? Arthur Sullivan reports
New hope for football in the Middle East
The re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran in March surprised many around the world. If relations improve, the hope is that football in both countries and the wider region will benefit. John Duerden reports
Udo Steinbach on Europe and the Gulf
Let's have none of the old arrogance
Middle East expert Udo Steinbach has been advocating closer relations with the Gulf states for years. Genuine interest in regional development, however, needs to look beyond the stereotypes. Birgit Svensson spoke to him in Baghdad
Through football, South Sudanese youth forge ahead
With the return of peace after a decade of war, South Sudan's youth national teams qualified for the country's first continental football championships. They are helping forge a stronger national identity and pride. By Lolade Adewuyi
FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022
Did LGBTQ rights campaigns in Qatar help or hinder?
Protests by Western activists at the FIFA World Cup may have backfired and sparked a backlash against gay, lesbian and queer communities in Qatar, critics say. By Cathrin Schaer
Arab world on tenterhooks
World Cup semi-final – "We are all Moroccans"
Morocco has taken the 2022 World Cup by storm, with the northwest Africans reaching the semi-finals for the first time in their soccer history. As the knockout match approaches, Birgit Svensson's public viewing report from Baghdad throws a different light on Morocco's recent victories in Qatar
Women's rights in Qatar
Driving emancipation forward
During the World Cup in Qatar, much has been written about the role of women in the Gulf state, yet they themselves rarely get a word in edgeways. Karim El-Gawhary spoke to two Qatari women in Doha
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Qatar critics and their blind spots
We are in favour of human rights. But One Love armbands are self-righteous and ignore some fundamental issues. Stefan Buchen examines the debate surrounding the World Cup in Qatar
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Football fans see double standard in stadium politics ban
When is it and when is it not acceptable to display a political banner at the World Cup in Qatar? The answer seems to depend largely on the political message, with fans criticising what they see as inconsistent enforcement of FIFA rules by the host country.
Politics, Qatar and FIFA
Is criticism of Qatar's World Cup racist?
Locals in the Middle East have said European critics are showing bias and hypocrisy when they condemn Qatar. Observers agree that Qatar has had to deal with more criticism than usual for a World Cup host. Cathrin Schaer and Emad Hassan ask why