16 November 2012

Host and Parasite

I would like to have a party at your house. This is a great opportunity for you. I won’t pay you anything, but really, your house is inadequate, unseemly even, so please reform it and beautify the streets. When I get there, no one else can come within two kilometers, a condition you will guarantee by force of arms. You are responsible for the music, drink, getting me and my friends there, telling others about it, and providing everything that I can think of, whether or not I have told you about it. Make sure there is a recycling bin because I am very concerned about sustainability. I would like you to close down all the roads so I can get there more quickly in the limousine that you will provide. If I break everything, too bad. If I decide not to show up, well, that’s up to me. Everything good that happens at this party, I will take credit for. In fact, I’ll sell the video and party favors around the globe to my exclusive profit, and you’ll get nothing in return but the world will see how pretty your house is. In the case that one of my friends urinates on your couch or puts a hole in the roof you can’t ask for compensation. Don’t even think about complaining, it’s not his fault that she has a bit of a heavy wrist and loses control. Once you’ve prepared everything and gone into debt to do so, I guarantee, semi-absolutely, that it is going to be an amazing party but remember that we have different interests here. If you do everything I say and give me everything I want at your own expense, then I will tell people what a good host you were. I need to make enough money at this party to tide me over for years and it’s your obligation to make this happen. If things aren’t just right or if I am in any way inconvenienced by what I perceive to be a lack of preparation, or if the path between my five star hotel and your house is not plastered with my image, I will simply cancel without prior warning and leave you holding a very empty bag. Sound good? Sign here.

A federal judge ordered the publication of the host city agreement between São Paulo and FIFA. The documents defines the “opportunities and obligations” of the city. The obligations are onerous, offering very little for the host other than financial risk, liability and the surrendering of urban space for the “good of the game”. The links to the agreement in English and Portuguese are above, but I have compiled a list of gems that will give you some idea of what the contract involves.

“The LOC (Local Organizing Committee, headed by the 80 year old kleptomaniac and president of the CBF, José Marin) and Host City accept that FIFA is entitled to amend, delete or supplement the terms of any guidelines and other directions and to add FIFA requirements at any time at its sole discretion.” 

Section 9.5, regarding World Cup poster and artistic materials: “The Host City irrevocably waives in favor of FIFA, to the fullest extent permitted by any applicable laws, all moral rights and other rights of a similar nature.”

Section 12.6, “…any and all goodwill arising from the use by the Host City of Competition Marks will inure to the benefit of FIFA.”

Section 14, “…Costs related to the infrastructure, management and operation of public viewing events shall be borne by the Host City.” However, within any of the public viewing areas that a city wishes to establish, all FIFA guidelines regarding branding and sale of merchandise, food, etc. 

Section 16 prohibits the Host City from hosting any competing sporting events and during the day before, day of and day after a match, all cultural events that happen in a city have to be approved by FIFA. (Good luck with this in Rio).

Section 18 reminds the host that they have to provide all stadia and training grounds free of charge. One of the brutalities of the privatization schemes is that the public will have invested hundreds of millions in stadia, privatized them, and then will have to lease them back from the new owners in order to give them over to FIFA. If there is an M.B.A. or sport management student out there that would like to explain how this improves the economic prospects of the host, I’m listening.

Sections 21 and 22 deal with transportation and are worrying in the extreme. The host city shall pass “all necessary ordinances and bylaws” (that is, install an extra-legal regime) to provide special access lanes and transportation schemes for FIFA. In case this does not liberate enough space, “The Host City shall, upon FIFA or the LOC’s reasonable request, at any period of the competition, shut down public access to roads within the Host City.” This is a complete surrendering of territorial sovereignty.

In the “exclusion zones” around the stadiums, FIFA can “cover any and all commercial signage and advertising”. Who will do this covering you ask? Your local, state and federal police forces that will be trained by FIFA in “Rights Protection” (at public expense) and then will be put at FIFA’s disposal for six weeks. You did not read incorrectly. Public police forces will be taken off the job, trained to protect FIFA’s interests, then will be relieved from normal duties for six weeks to enforce what FIFA has taught them. This will be made possible by the passing of “laws that enable FIFA agents to act to confiscate ‘ambush’ materials” (Section 28.2).

Section 31 – all city services will be provided free of charge

Section 32 – City Beautification: “The Host City shall not authorize or grant any permits for any private or public construction works to be undertaken for the duration of the World Cup…any construction which is in progress at the start of the Competition shall be temporarily suspended.” Good luck getting those wages back, or in getting those Olympic projects completed on time.

Section 33.8 – No Partnership. “The Host City shall not act nor purport to act as a partner or agency of FIFA or the LOC…The parties are in all respects independent contractors and have separate financial interests under this agreement.” Indeed.

Section 33.18 – What me worry? “The Host City waives any and all claims of liability against the LOC, FIFA and their officers, members, agents or employees for any loss or damage to the city whether or not such loss or damage may have been caused by or resulted from the negligence of the LOC, FIFA, [etc]…The Host City further indemnifies and hold harmless FIFA, LOC, broadcasters, commercial affiliates, external advisors and agents, [etc.]…from any and all obligations and liabilities, including, without limitation any and all claims, losses, damage, injuries, liabilities, objections, demands, recoveries deficiencies, costs, expenses which they may suffer or incur arising out of or in any way connected with this agreement, or any acts or omissions of the Host City hereunder. The obligations of the Host City set forth in this clause survive the termination of the agreement.”


Anonymous said...


PA said...

The Host City Agreements for Brazil 2014 appear to be exactly like the ones signed by South Africa for 2010WC. FIFA laughs all the way to the (Swiss) bank. Taxpayers are left holding the bag.

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