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‘That’s the last goal you will ever cheer’: how the 1978 World Cup hid Argentina’s atrocities

Qatar is not the first state to use the event as a distraction from human rights abuses, as a revisiting of the horrors that took place during the Argentina 1978 tournament will reveal

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Protest: A member of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo — the group of mothers who campaigned for information about their kidnapped children — in 1978. Photo by Gilbert Uzan via Getty Images

Protest: A member of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo — the group of mothers who campaigned for information about their kidnapped children — in 1978. Photo by Gilbert Uzan via Getty Images

Argentinian Fifa official Julio H Grondona. Photo by Pressefoto Ulmer via Getty Images

Argentinian Fifa official Julio H Grondona. Photo by Pressefoto Ulmer via Getty Images

Triumph: Mario Kempes puts Argentina into the lead against the Netherlands in the 1978 final. Photo by AFP via Getty

Triumph: Mario Kempes puts Argentina into the lead against the Netherlands in the 1978 final. Photo by AFP via Getty

‘It was torture to see people hugging in the street’: Argentinians celebrate after their World Cup final victory. Photo by Jerry Cooke via Getty

‘It was torture to see people hugging in the street’: Argentinians celebrate after their World Cup final victory. Photo by Jerry Cooke via Getty

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Protest: A member of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo — the group of mothers who campaigned for information about their kidnapped children — in 1978. Photo by Gilbert Uzan via Getty Images

Campaigners urge a boycott of the World Cup because of the host nation’s human rights record, but the tournament goes ahead. We’ve been here before. For Qatar this month, read Argentina in 1978. Then, as now, the world’s most potent sporting festival was marinated in suffering, corruption and death.

The bad taste still lingers.


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