A total of 18 different countries have hosted a men's World Cup 23 times since 1930. Brazil, Germany, France, Italy and Mexico have hosted soccer's most illustrious tournament twice. In most cases, the tournament took place in countries with a democratic system. But not always, as a look at this infographic shows. Fascism ruled Italy during the 1934 World Cup (though not the second time round when it hosted the competition in 1990), and when Argentina hosted the tournament in 1978, a military junta was in power. In the recent past, however, the world governing body FIFA awarded the World Cup twice in a row to countries ruled autocratically.
Putin's Russia, which hosted the 2018 tournament, is 'not free', according to Freedom House, and the same is true of the 2022 host, Qatar. Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani governs the country as absolute ruler; democratic elections or political parties do not exist. Freedom House goes on to say, "While Qatari citizens are among the wealthiest in the world, most of the population is made up of non-citizens with no political rights, few civil liberties, and limited access to economic opportunities."