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Satire imagines 'FIFA 2022' video game with 'dying construction workers'

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Sports gamers love to fetishize what makes a game "sim" or "#notsim" (of course it has a hashtag), and if EA Sports' FIFA series is going to lay claim to total accuracy, well, some Norwegian sketch comedians have a few suggestions for the FIFA 2022 World Cup edition.

Namely: slave-labor management! Can you keep workers from dying? Can you conceal their bodies if they do? Norway's NRK Humor channel is talking about a crossover sports/resource management/real-time strategy title here! (Be sure to turn on subtitles in your language so you can get all the jokes.)

The 2022 World Cup isn't just a global scandal for the straight-up bribery that awarded the event to Qatar, or the fact it's summertime football in a fucking desert (only recently moved to a quickened November-December schedule), it's also that indentured migrant workers, mainly from South Asia, are building out the thing and dying by the hundreds. One estimate says the body count will hit 4,000 by the time the 2022 Cup kicks off.

That doesn't yet seem to bother major sponsors like Coca-Cola or McDonald's, who this week were more concerned with FIFA's supreme kleptocrat-in-chief Sepp Blatter stepping down at an agreeable time. So FIFA, much less its sponsors, are hardly in any position to cluck over this trivialization of worker deaths when they're doing a fine enough job of ignoring it themselves. (Although, to its credit, Sony a year ago ended PlayStation's nine-figure sponsorship of FIFA events.)

I've argued that EA Sports' global best-seller could continue on without a FIFA license, because the guts of its game is rooted in the domestic professional leagues' licenses and the FIFPro group license giving it real world players, which is altogether separate from FIFA. But I also can't say that Electronic Arts bears responsibility for FIFA's abuses and scandals any more than any other sponsor or licensing partner, if at all.

Still, if you buy an organization's prestige, you buy its disgrace, and it makes you fair game for videos such as this.

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