soccer

Ekrem Imamoglu, the mayoral candidate for the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP),  gestures as he speaks during a rally ahead of local elections in Istanbul on March 29. The election, which Imamoglu won narrowly, is scheduled to be re-run on June 23.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan Has Met His Match

Turkey’s soccer-obsessed president is engaging in a last-ditch effort to help his party hold on to power in Istanbul. Can Ekrem Imamoglu beat him at his own game?

A child stands on the T-34 Soviet tank set as a monument in the center of Tiraspol, capital of self-proclaimed  Moldovan Republic of Transnistria on April 3, 2017.

Transnistria Isn’t the Smuggler’s Paradise It Used to Be

The separatist territory sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine has long thrived on porous frontiers and Russian backing, but Kiev has changed its tune and might be dragging it back toward the West.

Ajax fans hold an Israeli flag in the stands during the Champions League semifinal first leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on April 30.

Don’t Blame Soccer’s ‘Jewish’ Teams for Anti-Semitism

Hateful chants were notably absent when Tottenham played Ajax—but opponents of the two self-proclaimed Jewish teams routinely pelt them with neo-Nazi slogans.

Hakeem al-Araibi, a former Bahrain national team soccer player with refugee status in Australia, is escorted by immigration police to a court in Bangkok on Dec. 11, 2018.

FIFA Cares About Cash, Not Players

By allowing a refugee soccer player to remain stranded in Thailand, soccer’s governing body is scoring another own goal.

Croatian nationalist singer Marko Perkovic (known as Thompson) performs during an event to welcome Zlatko Dalic, Croatia's national football coach, at a local stadium in the Western-Bosnian town of Livno on July 24, 2018.

In Croatia, Nazi Sympathizers Are Welcome to Join the Party

The national soccer team celebrated its strong World Cup showing alongside a singer who glorifies the country’s fascist past. But it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

Members of the Croatian soccer team celebrate after scoring a goal against Nigeria at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 16. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

How a WWII-Era Chant Found Its Way to World Cup 2018

Symbols have power, even in soccer. Just ask Croatia.

A woman is locked up in a transparent suitcase reading "Stop Human Trafficking! 60 Years of Human Rights" on a luggage belt at the airport in Munich, Germany, on December 11, 2008. The Human Rights organization Amnesty International staged the action to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Putin Doesn’t Care about Sex Trafficking

Russia could have done something to prevent sexual exploitation of foreign women during the World Cup. It chose not to.

Peruvian players huddle prior before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group C match between Australia and Peru at Fisht Stadium on June 26 in Sochi, Russia. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Peru’s National Identity Was Bound Up With Conflict and Corruption for Decades — Then It Qualified for the World Cup.

On our podcast, how a country scores two goals in the soccer tournament and finds redemption.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan plays soccer during an exhibition match at the Basaksehir stadium on July 26, 2014, in Istanbul. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

Captain Erdogan Can’t Help the Turkish Soccer Team

With so much political, social, and financial capital invested in its national squad, why can’t Turkey qualify for a World Cup?

Then Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping kicks a Gaelic football  as he visits Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, on February 19, 2012. (Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images)

Xi Jinping Is the World’s Most Powerful Soccer Coach

China's team is a national embarrassment — but the party chairman has big plans for the game.

Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring the winning goal in the 2018 World Cup match between Serbia and Switzerland at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

For Serbs, Switzerland Isn’t Neutral

Serbia’s nationalist soccer fans hoped to restore their national pride by beating a Swiss team led by Kosovar stars. Instead, the Kosovo-born Xherdan Shaqiri handed them a humiliating defeat.

Fans cheer for Mexico during an international friendly soccer match against Croatia at AT&T Stadium on March 27 in Arlington, Texas.  (Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

If Trump Tears Up NAFTA, Sports Will Keep North America Together

The joint 2026 World Cup is yet another sign that Canada, Mexico, and the United States are becoming increasingly culturally and economically interdependent.

Senator George Weah greets his supporters during a campaign rally in Monrovia on Oct. 8. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

A Football God Is About to Become President of Liberia

Former AC Milan striker George Weah is revered in soccer-obsessed West Africa, but can he convince Liberians he’s smart enough for the top job?

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Mexican Soccer Star Sanctioned for Drug Trafficking Ties

Rafa Marquez, Mexico’s captain, allegedly linked to Flores narco ring.

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 17:  Teams and Officials Say No To Racism during the FIFA U-20 World Cup Semi Final match between Brazil and Senegal at Christchurch Stadium on June 17, 2015 in Christchurch, New Zealand.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA Dismantled Its Anti-Racism Task Force And Says Its Work Is Done

Despite calls for it to remain intact, FIFA has dismantled its anti-racism task force.

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Running Out of People to Purge, Erdogan Targets Turkish Soccer Referees

Ninety-four soccer officials, including referees, have been purged in the wake of a coup attempt in Turkey.

MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA  JUNE 18, 2016: Alexander Shprygin, head of the Russian Football Supporters' Association, arrives at Sheremetyevo International Airport from Nice, France. France deports Russian football fans after mass fighting in the 2016 UEFA European Championship. Mikhail Japaridze/TASS (Photo by Mikhail JaparidzeTASS via Getty Images)

This Russian Soccer Fan Was Expelled from France, then Live-Tweeted His Sneaky Return

Nine days ago, Alexander Shprygin was kicked out of France. Today, he was there to see Russia play Wales.

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Among the Khuligans

When riot police, casual racism, and small-scale arson are part of an average weekend game, is it any wonder that Russian soccer fans’ trip to France turned ugly?

TOPSHOT - A man throws a chair as a small group of Russian men provoke a group of England supporters in the centre of Lille, on June 14, 2016, three days after Russia and England football fans clashed in the southern French city of Marseille during the Russia vs England, group B, Euro 2016 match.  / AFP / LEON NEAL        (Photo credit should read )

French Ambassador Summoned Over ‘Unfriendly Actions’ Toward Suspected Russian Hooligans

The Kremlin says France's detention of a busload of suspected hooligans is discriminatory.

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