Catching up on a few things left hanging around my desk from last year…
Way back in 2010, the London Organizing Committee announced a 25% cut in the security budget, with assurances that security would not be compromised. This should be a clear indictment of the huge and unnecessary spending for the Olympic Games. If the security won’t be compromised by spending less, then why were they going to spend so much in the first place?
Jumping to 2022, it was uncommented here, but the Führer Sepp Blatter suggested that gays avoid having sex if they were so bold as to visit Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. This is old news by now, and the little corrupt tyrant has since apologized, sort of. Qatar is a country of 1.9 million people. Homosexuality is illegal. The World Cup is a joke. Why bother getting upset about it anymore?
One can’t help but get upset after reading books like The Fix: soccer and organized crime by Declan Hill. It’s common knowledge by now (or should be) that FIFA is a global mafia that throws bones here and there to ‘developing’ countries to put some developmentalist spin on their otherwise nefarious dealings. But in The Fix, Declan Hill dives into the underworld of the people that are paying to have World Cup games rigged. His exposé, of course, had no real effect on the way that soccer is run, principally because it makes so much damn money for those who are fixing it, in all senses of the word. Some of you out there probably remember South Korea’s unlikely run to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup, sweeping aside Spain and Italy. Well, there was widespread conjecture that those two games were fixed and if you give a look at the replays, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the referees in both matches were doing very strange things. One of the referees, an Ecuadorian, was arrested in 2010 as he was entering the USA as he had bags of heroin strapped to the insides of his legs. If that’s not a corruptible (and idiotic) person I don’t know what is. After reading Hill’s book, I became even more convinced that the Brazil x Holland quarter-final match in the 2010 World Cup was sold by the Brazilians. Hill says of one of his major informants and global game fixer that, “when he arranged fixes he would often get the team to play well in the first half and then have a bad second half’ (249). There is no doubt in my mind that the Brazil team that played so brilliantly in the first half and so shoddily in the second, with an uncharacteristic howler by super-goalie Julio César, a summary but far from accidental sending off of Felipe Melo, and a shoddy marking job on a 5 foot 7 attacker in the six yard box when Brazil had defended set pieces very well all tournament…anyway. Would anyone really be that surprised if this were true? Can we still afford to be so naive as to believe that the game, even at the highest level, is clean? Why bother getting upset?
A report on 14.10.10 in the OGlobo sports section outlined the money that the Brazilian Olympic Committee distributes to the various sporting federations. The Brazilian snow sports federation receives R$ 800,000 a year. The Brazilian ice sports federation also receives R$ 800,000 a year. I guess if the Jamaicans can have their bobsled team, the Brazilians can pay for people to live abroad and go skiing. It does beg the question as to why, when the majority of Brazilian public schools have no playgrounds, the national government directs more than a million and half Reales every year to winter sports. A few more interesting numbers –
Horse jumping: 2,900,000 Table tennis: 2,300,000 Canoeing: 2,300,000 Tenis: 1,800,000 Archery: 1,300,000 Sailing and motor sports: 3,000,000
Modern Pentathlon: 1,300,000 Golf: 500,000 Rugby: 500,000
(rugby and golf will be Olympic sports in 2016)
All this money comes from resources from the Piva Law, which directs 2% of all of federal lottery earnings towards sport.
The headline from 15.10.2010: IN 2022 BRAZILIANS WILL BE AS OBESE AS AMERICANS. It seems to me that this is the developmental goal of the PT. Or it will be an inevitable consequence of fashioning Brazil in the image of the big brother to the north. The same edition of OGlobo had more pages dedicated to car sales in the classified section than it did in the newsy bit. In the days following the invasion of the Complexo de Alemão, there was a perceptible increase in the full page ads for closed condominium complexes and gated communities. Now if the Brazilians would only liberate those pesky gun control laws, start using and doing more of the things that white people like (Brazilian version), construct an unnecessarily large army to defend the "homeland" from imaginary threats, invade Angola, treat foreign workers more like criminals, and go into a financial tailspin while slashing public services in homage to the great porcelain throne of neo-liberal autocracy - then they’ll start to get it about right.