Empty Performance

Soft power sports diplomacy and the World Cup

From Planet 250

by Dan Evans

In a follow-up to his 2019 Planet article on fan culture, Dan Evans gives the reasons why he left Qatar early. He argues that a beloved sub-culture had been appropriated by the Welsh political establishment, in a wider context of foreign direct investment and an emerging Gulf Cold War.

The World Cup was a miserable experience.

Due to the expense and perceived dullness of Qatar (£200 a night for a tin shack in the fan zone), we opted to stay in Dubai (a mere 1k a week) and use the flight ‘shuttle’ service between Dubai and Qatar on match day (£250 return x 3). In my head this would give us the best of both worlds – partying in Dubai, then a seamless short hop on the day of the game.

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About the author

Dan Evans is a co-host of the Desolation Radio podcast. His book A Nation of Shopkeepers: The Unstoppable Rise of the Petty Bourgeoisie has just been published by Repeater Books.