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I have a problem with the World Cup

I have a problem with the World Cup

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I do not wish to be a party pooper but it's true - I have a problem with the World Cup and it seems that I'm not alone. Thousands of angry Brazilians took to the streets on Monday in protest against the inordinate amount of money that has been spent on preparing the country to host the tournament, money that 60% of Brazilians feel could have been more wisely spent on improving infrastructure and public services.

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And I'm inclined to agree.

This year's World Cup is reported to be the most expensive ever staged, an estimated price tag of $15 to $20 billion, $7 million of that having gone towards building news stadiums or bringing existing ones up to FIFA standards. Quite the renovation program. Let's pause for a moment to contemplate those figures. I'll say them again: $15 to $20 billion, in a country where widespread poverty and a huge income disparity still exist: It is estimated that 30 per cent of people are living without a sewerage system. 

I'm certainly not condoning the actions of dssome of the protestors which have turned pretty nasty of late

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but surely we can appreciate their frustration, anger and indignation? 

"If the country could produce stadiums up to the standards of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, Brazilians thought they should also be able to demand FIFA-quality public services", remarked Ricardo Sennes, a  fellow at the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

Awyató , a chief of the indigenous Sateré-Mawé tribe concurs:

“For the indigenous communities and favela dwellers, it’s hard to see so much money spent on the stadiums when there is such hunger and poor health, and that money didn’t need to be spent”.

One such stadium is the controversial Area Amazônia in the jungle city of Manaus. There did actually use to be a stadium in the region but it was torn down because it didn't comply with strict FIFA regulations.  So they spent $300 million dollars on a brand, spanking new stadium, a stadium that will play host to four world cup games and is unlikely to ever recoup costs once the games are over. The words "excess", "squander" and "insanity" spring to mind.

It's true that the same could be said of the London Olympics which came with its own hefty price tag of £8.77 billion. The big difference, however, is that while there are still many social ills to be addressed in the UK, the rich/poor divide is less stark and according to a BBC poll 74% of Brits would welcome the Games back to Britain.

It's a tough, one, Warriors, since great sporting events such as the World Cup and Olympics provide an opportunity for nations to come together in support of their countrymen/women, a chance to celebrate athletic prowess and the indomitable human spirit. I am certainly not saying that these events ought to be abandoned in light of the staggering costs of staging them but what I am saying is that we need to ensure that the citizens of the host nation benefit in some way, that any profit is poured back into local communities and that governments do not turn their back on their own people. 

Ginger Warrior, over and out.

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19 Comments

  1. Excellent blog GW!! Totally agree! I too have a problem with the World Cup!!
    xxx

  2. I think Fifa has a lot to answer for. Making countries spend money on stadiums when existing ones could surely have been upgraded for a lot less. I was disgusted with them the last world cup in South Africa another poverty stricken nation…..

    • The Ginger Warrior

      It’s the poor that always suffer. Has always been that way and always will be until those in power change their ways. I’m not hopeful.

  3. I totally agree there are plenty of counties with lots of already existing stadiums/football grounds should of been held in one of these countries xxx

  4. I completely agree! And it’s not only the money spent on stadiums and other infrastructure (which you might argue could bring long term benefits to the country) but the huge amount – somewhere around $3 billion I think – which just goes to FIFA, an organisation mired in corruption scandals and who knows where THAT money goes. FIFA, and the Olympics for that matter, need to focus more on bringing real benefits to host countries and less on lining their own pockets. There is mounting evidence that the focus on Olympics in the UK has taken money away from grassroots sport activities and given it to the elite athletes. While it’s nice to see GB getting medals, ultimately it’s probably better to get all those kiddies off their sofas and onto the pitches.

    • The Ginger Warrior

      Yes, something very fishy about FIFA. Big, large, self-interested companies. Too many of them around.

  5. Well highlighted Ceri. Wish it was as simple as a football tournament but football has become too big, too money orientated and it all leaves a rather unsavoury ethical taste………

  6. Yes, but it is the men at FIFA, international football’s corrupt governing mafia, and the big companies like Budweiser that support them, that are the problem, not the World Cup in itself. Football is the one sport that anyone can play, rich or poor, with just a field, a ball and four jumpers for goalposts, and that’s what has made it so popular all across the globe. John Oliver did a great program on the conundrum of those who love football but hate FIFA: http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/john-oliver-went-after-fifa-and-sepp-blatter-and-it-was-glorious.html

    • The Ginger Warrior

      Will have a look at that, Duncan. Thanks. But the governments of the respective countries choose to work with FIFA so they’re every bit as culpable if not more since they should have at interest the happiness, health and welfare of their people above all else.

  7. I love the World Cup and I think it brings loads of pleasure and excitement to lots of people (over 100 million watch it!) and it bonds people the world over. I think in part the Brazilian protesters are using the World Cup as a great opportunity to have their voices heard (the rest of the time who would pay any attention to them?). And at least Brazil isn’t spending all this money on war, etc. Football is great too: despite money issues (FIFA, over-paid players, etc.) it keeps millions of young folk off the sofa and away from crime. I’m loving watching it :-)

    • The Ginger Warrior

      I totally agree, Sophie, in that it really is exciting to watch and it is, for sure, an event which bonds. Like Ian said, it’s not the World Cup itself which is the problem, it’s the greedy, corrupt individuals that wish to line their own pockets rather than focus attention and funds on those who need it more. 300 billion spent by a country which doesn’t have 300 billion to spend (actually, who does??) leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. But that’s just me and I understand why people love it so much. :) xxx

      • Maybe I was trying too hard to see the positive side, but you (one) could also argue that the UK could have spent the 8 billion on finding a cure for cancer (etc.) rather than hosting the Olympics… x

        • The Ginger Warrior

          I think it would be better spent on medical research. Lol! I’m not a sporting bah humbug, I just find the amounts spent on such events completely staggering. At least here in the UK we all have access (I hope!!) to running water and a pretty decent sewerage system. I know these events make a lot of people very happy but at what cost? Literally.

        • The Ginger Warrior

          P.S. It’s good to see the positive side. Hope you’re well, Sophie D. Seems a lifetime since our fabulous month in Lisboa. xxx

  8. Ceri, I absolutely love football, but yeah, this world cup creates conflicts. FIFA is very corrupt organization, hopefully UEFA threatens withdrawal, otherwise things will never be brought back under control.

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