“If you love something, never find out how it was made”
This is what John Oliver, a brilliant British comedian, political satirist and actor, came up with and, in some cases, ends up being a great suggestion.
A friend of mine posted this video on facebook and I found it very compelling.
I’ve loved the World Cup since I was little. I’ve even been to the previous 4 tournaments: France 98, Japan-Korea 2002, Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010.
However, as John Oliver says it himself, I’m feeling excited and conflicted at the same time about it this time. As he puts it, “It’s so hard to justify how one can get so much joy from an organization that has caused so much pain”.
There’s been a lot of unrest in the fabelas or slums in Brazil in the past months with clashes between the people and the police. Many of these have not even been covered by the big, well known newspapers and news channels, but only by independent websites or social media.
Brazilians have protested against Brazil hosting the World Cup. But, wait, that does not make a lot of sense if Brazilians are the biggest soccer! They should be thrilled to host the World Cup. So why would people be unhappy and protesting after all?
Waste and corruption
Government has spent over 11 billion US dollars getting ready.
Manaus is so remote, that it is almost impossible to reach it by car. Officials had the stadium materials brought in by boat, shipped accross the Atlantic from Portugal and up the Amazon river.
A brand new 270 million USD stadium was built in Manaus, despite there is no team there that can use it. It will only be used in 4 games. This makes this satadium worthy of the title as “The world’s most expensive bird toilet”.
Brazilian government is allowing FIFA forego 250 million in taxes. FIFA has been related to many corruption scandals in its history. It sounds funny, but, as someone on this video put it, “bribery and FIFA go together like peanut butter and jelly”.
FIFA makes the money, not the people of Brazil
“Think of money as pubic hair and FIFA as wax”. “They’re gonna be all over Brazil enjoying the World Cup, but when they go, they’re taking ALL the money with them, including some from places you didn’t even know you had any money”
According to Professor HAN Kogels from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, “FIFA and its subsidiaries are completely exempt from ANY tax, whatsoever. At state and municipality level, they’re exempt from consumption taxes, income taxes, you name it”.
Disregard of the law and safety
In 2003 the Brazilian government banned alcohol from stadiums because of the enormously high death rate among fans.
However, Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of the World Cup since 1986, somehow was able to get FIFA make the Brazilian government approve a new law to be able to sell their beer at the stadiums. We’re calling this the “Budweiser bill”.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general, made it clear that it was not negotiable, there must be a part of the law that allowed them to sell beer. This is just another example of ho a corrupt government protects a big corporations instead of its people.
FIFA clearly does not care about what people think about them. The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, claimes that they’re merely a humble non-profit organization and ” they have to remain being a non-profi organization”…
They have, however, over a billion dollars in their bank accounts. When he was questioned about that, he said that it was a “reserve”. But, who has a “reserve” of 1 billion USD?!
Sepp Blatter is the kind of guy that, when asked “how should women soccre be more popular?”, said “well, they should wear shorter shorts”…
Funnily enough, FIFA, the humble non-profit, recently spent 16 million British pounds to fund “United Passions”, a fictionalized version of their history. The film trailer looks terrible, they can’t even pronounce Uruguay. And besides, like John says, who makes a sports film where the heroes are the executives?!
Summer temperatures in Qatar can reach up to 50º C or 122 Fº, a difficult environment to hold a sport even outdoors… This leads us back to the previous analogy to peanut butter and jelly.
I do hope that the allegations about some FIFA executives beeing bribed to select Qatar are true. Otherwise, it makes no sense and nobody wins.
Considering the working conditions and the current death rates in workers, more than 1 per day on average, it is safe to assume that more than 4000 will die before the first ball is kicked off in 2022.
Soccer is a religion
Soccer is actually an organized religion and FIFA is its church and these are 3 good reasons why this is a valid statement:
- FIFA makes South American countries spend money they don’t have, building opulent cathedrals (the stadiums)
- It might ultimately be resposible for the deaths of shocking numbers of people in the middle east.
- For millions of people around the world, FIFA is the guardian f the only thing that gives their lives any meaning.