You Can Buy This Oil-Soaked World Cup Trophy Replica for the Price of a Bribe

Posted inDesign News

The final stage for the 2023 World Cup has been set, with Lionel Messi’s Argentina facing off against the reigning title holders in Kylian Mbappé’s France, who will face off this Sunday in the championship match. While it promises to be a matchup of powerhouses, the darkness cloaking the tournament looms large— it’s impossible to talk about the games without talking about the egregiousness of placing them in Qatar.

We’ve already addressed the corruption of FIFA in our previous World Cup coverage, along with Qatar’s abysmal human rights record and the tragic deaths of the over 6,500 migrant workers who suffered while building the stadia for the tournament. So while this World Cup has given us a seemingly endless supply of brilliant moments on the field, from Morocco’s Cinderella story success to Messi’s swan song heroics, we can’t forget that this tournament is soaked in blood.

Andrei Molodkin won’t let us forget. In partnership with Líbero magazine, the Russian-born artist has created a poignant representation of the pervasive corruption inherent to the 2022 World Cup and FIFA at large in a work entitled The Dirtiest Cup. The piece is an exact reproduction of Italian sculptor Silvo Gazzaniga’s iconic 1972 World Cup trophy, but instead of filling it with gold, he’s filled it with Qatari oil. Molodkin brought the sculpture to life in his workshop in Maubourguet, France using methacrylate, wax, and petroleum from Qatar.

“I have taken the most coveted trophy in the world, sport’s Holy Grail, and filled this empty vessel with the political substance that is supporting the 2022 tournament,” said Molodkin. “The oil stains this trophy gold but the dirt is inescapable. The World Cup is an icon of an empty victory. Because the only victory that the petrocracies understand is that of blood and oil.”

A photo of The Dirtiest Cup is featured on the cover of Líbero’s November issue, an edition dedicated to the dissection of one of the dirtiest World Cups in history— quite the feat, considering FIFA’s long standing record of evildoings. The sculpture itself is also being auctioned off by the art platform a/political with a starting price tag of $150 million, the estimated bribe payment FIFA executives accepted from Russia and Qatar in 2010 to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, as revealed by a 2015 FBI investigation led by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The trophy will be available to view at a/political’s gallery space in London on December 18th from 11 AM to 6 PM, the day of the World Cup final in Qatar.