02 December 2010

Russia 2018, Quatar 2022. Does FIFA make you sick too?

FIFA's decisions are the final nails in the coffin of the World Cup as an populist event. It's been going this way for some time, but it should be clear to everyone that FIFA goes where they can "do business" their way. Where corruption and petro-dollars reside (South Africa, Brasil, Russia, Quatar), there goes FIFA. 2006 was an abberation to give some credibility to the institution, or to give the Europeans a chance to see the Cup. But now, we are seeing the depths to which FIFA has fallen and I am considering a personal boycot of international football. It will certainly free months of my life up to do something useful. So, to all of you who were thinking of coming to Brasil for the 2014 World Cup, my apartment will be empty as I'll be off in the Pantanal, far from televisions, internet, and radio. FIFA perpetrates crimes against humanity with the full support of the public.

A flight from Rio de Janeiro to Doha, for one month, US$2,284.
A flight from Rio de Janeiro to Moscow: US$1,300 (not bad actually!)

If you're revolted by these two decisions, start paying attention to what is going to happen in Brasil and to what just happened in South Africa, as it's all part of the same putrid puzzle.


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David said...

Chris, I'm not sure I share your outrage. We can discuss this at length elsewhere, but a couple of quick points: First off, why does it matter what you'll have to pay in airfare to attend Cups in Russia and Qatar? The vast majority of soccer fans watch on television, whether the cost of travel is high or exorbitant. It's odd for you to complain about airfare to Qatar when you will have a Cup in your backyard in 2014 (threats of boycott notwithstanding).

If economic rationality guided FIFA's decisions, the World Cup would ALWAYS be in the US or Western Europe. Leaving aside the question of whether World Cups and Olympics are a good use of public resources, are there really NO benefits to staging a World Cup in Africa, or the Middle East, or Eastern Europe?

USA 2026!

Dr. Christopher Gaffney said...


Thanks for the comment. I guess my revolt comes from the choice of countries, from my perspective, that will not have any "transparency" mechanisms to watch over the tournaments. The most profitable places might be the USA and Western Europe in terms of ticket sales, but in terms of the graft that FIFA and their dirty partners can suck out of a tournament, Russia is pretty high on the list.

I just put the airfares up there on a whim, not necessarily complaning, just showing.

As for having NO benefit, of course it's not universally horrid and my commentary tends towards the hyperbolic at times (as if I were putting on sunglasses to protect myself from the blindingly bright smile coming from the faces of global sports marketers.) However, the black box out of which FIFA operates delivers collateral benefits in a much lower proportion to the collateral damages.

It's complicated but I have NO reason to believe that FIFA acts for any reason other than its own self-interest, and that it not necessarily "for the good of the game"


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