Nowadays sport is an inalienable aspect of politics used as part of the ‘soft power’ concept to help promote interests of a country. Political relations between previously implacable foes were many times revitalized during various world sports tournaments. For example, China took the first step towards improving relations with the United States by inviting the American table tennis team for a series of friendly matches. The 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow showed the entire world that Western propaganda stereotypes about the Soviet Union were in fact detached from reality.
However there is always a reverse side of the coin, i.e. destructive propaganda aimed at undermining the authority of a host country. A vivid example of the aggressive rhetoric is the way Western states cover Russia’s preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Numerous calls to boycott the Mundial, unreasonable allegations that Russia cannot provide security to football fans, comparing the forthcoming World Cup to Hitler’s 1936 Olympics in Berlin – all of it only serves to aggravate a stressful enough political atmosphere in the world. They don’t use football to round off rough corners, instead they use it to open yet another military front in the never-ending information war between Russia and the West.
What will the 2018 FIFA World Cup eventually turn into: a prologue to World War III or another Détente?