Disgusted Artists Flood Internet with Imagery Mocking FIFA and World Cup Sponsors

Well over a thousand workers have already died.

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Graphic artists have joined the chorus of voices targeting FIFA, the world soccer organization, in the wake of revelations that migrant workers building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have been dying on the job at alarming rates.

The artists’ designs take aim at multinational corporations like Adidas, Coca-Cola and Budweiser, which support the games. One image shows McDonald’s trademark golden arches transformed into whips, accompanied by the words “Proud sponsor of the human rights abuses in Qatar.” Another morphs Coca-Cola’s white ribbon into two arms handcuffed together.

adidas-gravestonesOne image targets Adidas by turning its trademark three stripes into gravestones, while a fourth lampoons Budweiser’s slogan “the King of Beers” by emblazoning the text “You can’t be king without slaves” above the beer’s bowtie-shaped logo.

A Guardian investigation determined that Nepalese immigrants creating the infrastructure for the games died at a rate of one every two days in 2014, and that workers have been subject to exploitative conditions.

The artists have submitted the images to Reddit’s sports page. Corporations have responded by pointing the finger at FIFA. On May 27, Visa issued a press release that stated, “As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organization… Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship.”

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The revelations of worker abuse were followed last week by arrests in a corruption investigation. Authorities allege that soccer authorities accepted bribes to sway their decisions about what nation would host the World Cup, as well as what companies would get to televise the games.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin was accused of having bribed a FIFA executive committee member with a painting by Pablo Picasso (see Did Vladimir Putin Bribe FIFA Executive with Picasso Painting?).

When Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014, street artists expressed criticism of what they saw as the government’s decision to prioritize sport over the people’s welfare (see Brazilian Street Art Reflects Divide Over FIFA World Cup.

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