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Soccer has the power to change the world

How does soccer change laws and cultural norms in different countries?
The+world%E2%80%99s+countries+are+affected+by+many+things%2C+and+soccer+makes+one+of+the+largest+impacts.
Matteo Ventresca ’25
The world’s countries are affected by many things, and soccer makes one of the largest impacts.

Soccer is the world’s most followed sport. It has had a huge impact on different countries’ social standards. From the FIFA World Cup to regular seasonal matches, laws have changed due to the people participating and watching the sport.

Let’s start with the FIFA World Cup. Qatar is a strict Muslim country, meaning that they have laws about alcohol, LGBTQ+, and women’s rights. In Qatar, it is illegal to be drunk in public. Law enforcement says that Qatar is an Islamic country, so the laws should be respected at all times. The country also doesn’t allow same-sex marriages nor allow people to campaign for LGBTQ+ rights. Finally, women are not allowed at sporting events because these events are viewed as a male-dominant atmosphere. So, where does the World Cup step in?

FIFA has made some agreements with the Qatari government to change some laws, at least during the World Cup. The government allowed people to drink in certain areas outside the stadiums. They did not sell alcohol in the stadiums. They allowed rainbow flags and women into their stadiums. They decided that, since there would be people coming from various countries, they would allow women and children to attend the games. 

Before the World Cup was introduced to Russia in 2018, Russia also had some cultural norms. It was frowned upon to smile a lot in public and talk while on the Metro. The appearance of rainbow flags were also restricted. 

The Russian government and its president, Vladimir Putin, decided to allow rainbow flags to be shown inside and outside stadiums during the World Cup. 

Also, after many people from different countries and cultures went to Russia to watch the World Cup, Russia’s residents have seen how other countries host these worldly events, and smiling and talking on the Metro is now completely normal. 

Cristiano Ronaldo, a well-known soccer player, was recently bought by a Saudi Arabian team. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal to live with someone you are not married to. Ronaldo is not married with his girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez, so he legally should not be able to live with her. Saudi Arabia decided to let him “bend the law” so that police officers wouldn’t prosecute anyone.

In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Brazilian government allowed beer and other alcoholic drinks to be sold at stadiums, even though in 2003, they had passed a law that stated that for safety purposes, they would not sell alcohol in stadiums. Brazil also has a rule that there would be discounted tickets for students and senior citizens. FIFA allowed 300,000 tickets to be sold to students and senior citizens.

Germany was also affected by the World Cup in 2006. In Germany, before the World Cup in 2006, it was frowned upon to be very patriotic and to have huge parties with a lot of people in public. When the World Cup started, fans began celebrating wins in the streets and holding huge parties at bars because their team was doing so well. After the World Cup, as a result, seeing all the flags and huge parties made the government change their mind and think that it was time to reform some of their public etiquettes.

The world’s countries are affected by many things, and soccer makes one of the largest impacts. It changes the world because it introduces different cultures into a culture that has nothing to do with the rest. 

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About the Contributor
Matteo Ventresca '25
Matteo Ventresca '25, Managing Editor of Print
Matteo Ventresca is the Managing Editor for Print for The Panther Press. In his free time, he enjoys watching and playing soccer, as well as playing the trombone.
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