The ongoing conflict between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours could be about to spill onto the football fields of northern England.
FIFA boss Gianni Infantino wants to bring forward plans to expend the tournament from 32 to 48 countries. But it's not going to be easy.
The oil-exporting organization may have mustered the political will to cut production, but its disunity remains intact.
Qatar's decision to aid Turkey in the face of American sanctions against the country may finally be a snub too far for its close relationship with the US.
New! Mega sports events wash your government's tarnished reputation whiter-than-white.
It seems likely that football will remain a pawn in an intensifying proxy war.
Without strategic clarity from the US, the Saudis and their allies are under little pressure to thaw their frozen relationship with Qatar.
Political ethics and sports don't match well. The recent deal between Rwanda and Arsenal is potentially a case in point.
The Libyan warlord and presidential hopeful looks likely to avoid a summons to The Hague.
There are strong signs that Riyadh has begun a campaign to promote regime change. But the Saudi strategy appears to be backfiring.
Kuwait has first-hand experience of how financial and political shocks can stifle investor confidence in the entire region.
When it comes to foreign policy, Saudi Arabia has recently become far more aggressive. A historian of the modern Middle East sees three possible causes for the shift.
Everyone can stop talking about money for a few months. But expect more records to be set next year.
Despite US threats, Iran seems to have emerged more powerful than ever, expanding its sphere of influence in the Gulf region and in the Levant.
When financial times are tight, only those with soft power ambitions can see the economic sense in World Cups or Olympic Games.
Financial Fair Play rules require clubs' spending to match their earnings.
It's all to do with PSG's Qatari owners.
When the network launched in 1996, it radically changed the media landscape of the Arab world. Two decades later, some regimes are still seething.
No nation can truly feel secure without its own food supply.
As a crackdown on Qatar goes off half-cocked, the world is worrying Saudi Arabia's new order could be even more dangerous.