The Men’s World Cup, which starts today in Qatar, has faced a significant amount of controversy, from the deaths caused by the construction  to the rights of LGBTQ+ across the country or attending the tournament.

The Athletic’s Football Daily podcast, presented by Mark Chapman, has an episode this week providing a deep dive into how we all got here. They also discuss the moral dilemmas of trying to cover and follow the tournament as journalists and football enthusiasts. “As an organisation we’ve wrestled with how to cover this,” says Deputy Editor Laura Williamson. “Do we go from one extreme of ‘let’s ignore it,’ do we not mention the word Qatar, do we fully embrace it?” 

“Our job as journalists is to make sure that the people who follow this sort of stuff are well informed,” says writer Matt Slater. “It’s not for us to tell people what they have to think. We just have to present everything and keep digging.”

Monocle 24’s The Foreign Desk also has an overview but is a concise one, with their recap only lasting eight minutes long.

A lighthearted deep dive into every notable World Cup since the 1930s has can be listened to in The World Cup of World Cups, presented by James Cook and Paul Savage. They also try to work out what one has been the best one. And in terms of podcasts that will be following the tournament, look out for the BBC’s World Cup Daily, The Guardian’s Football Daily and talkSPORT World Cup Daily. The Sky Sports Football Podcast has also got a preview of the tournament, with Jamie Carragher, Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville.


If you have listened to a great guest on a podcast, let us know by filling in this form and it might get featured in an upcoming newsletter.

Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

If you want your podcast featured, or you have a great recommendation, all you need to do is fill in this simple form and might get featured in a future newsletter.

Extraordinary Lives: The MINUTES WITH Podcast – Not that I’m a snob, but I honestly didn’t think that a podcast from the meme sharing network Ladbible would be in my bag at all. Yet I have been delightfully surprised by their new series, which features guests talking about quite unbelievable situations. There’s a drug smuggler who has served time in one of Europe’s most dangerous prisons, a former terrorist who ended up becoming a British spy. A particular highlight for me is an interview with a former drug officer who worked undercover for 14 years, and was involved in some high-stakes situations in order to secure a conviction. Yet, he now believes that the war on drugs is failing and that drugs should be legalised.

A part of it was a realisation that shutting down and arresting networks only interrupted supply in the local area for only two hours and the void was immediately supplied by a rival. “Seven months of work, 96 people arrested, being constantly in fear of my life, being assaulted,” Neil Woods says to host Ben Powell-Jones. “And all of those things that I went through, to interrupt the supply for two hours.”

Where There’s A Will, There’s A WakeA popular format in audio features guests picking who would perform in an imaginary music festival, or the records they would choose if they were abandoned on a desert island. So, in a delightful twist to the format, the icon Kathy Burke has now launched her new podcast where she asks guests about how they would plan their own death.

Yep! It’s dark, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. Guests in this new series, which includes everyone from Diane Morgan (aka. Philomena Cunk) to Dawn French, are asked how they would like to die, who they would invite to their funeral and who would get what in their will. Probably best to say that what they say about their wills is not legally binding. New episodes are out soon.

My LifeA great idea by the children’s radio station Fun Kids, who have passed the microphone to their listeners to document their own lives for their new podcast. 

Each episode consists of a different contributor somewhere in the country talking about their hobbies, their upbringing, their views and hopes for the future. It’s a great way to get younger listeners interested and engaged with the podcasting world, by giving them the chance and opportunity to do it themselves. And heck, the world of media always looks and feels so much bigger when they’re younger too. 

At Your Leisure with Sue PerkinsNormally I fret in fear when a celebrity hosts an open ended conversational podcast series, simply because it is an art to keep the listener engaged with the celeb hosts and guest end up talking about for the entire hour. But Sue Perkins makes it look and feel so easy and the hour completely flies by. Whilst this new series is now in partnership with Lego, it doesn’t feel too much like an advert. There are three episodes so far Giovanna Fletcher, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Tom Grennan.

That’s all from the newsletter this week. Thanks so much for reading.

Get it in your inbox, free, each Sunday:

Categories: Weekly Picks