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Are FIFA Any Better Than Thugs?

Fri, 18 June 2010

On BBC News:

Fifa will pocket the vast majority of the money raised by the sale of media rights and global sponsorship deals as well as some of the income from ticket sales.

South Africa, on the other hand, will be paying the costs.

There are few cast iron laws in economics but one seems to hold – the organisers of sporting mega-events always overestimate the economic benefits and underestimate the costs.Yet, even in an era of global economic uncertainty, governments are falling over themselves to host tournaments.

Ten countries, grouped in eight bids, are fighting to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022.

They are all armed with reports and projections from management consultants and all believe that they can put on the show at a reasonable cost, returned many times over by the economic benefits that come from hosting.

History, however, suggests a different outcome. Japan’s gigantic infrastructure programme for the 2002 World Cup, for one, barely shifted its sluggish economy.

The 2000 Sydney Olympics, it was argued, would transform future visitor numbers to the city but they have remained static.

Then, four years later, the Athens games were going to be put on for $1.5bn (£1bn); that ended up costing 10 times as much.

So why exactly is England bidding for the 2018 World Cup?

And FIFA are prepared to act like thugs to protect their turf:

Stewards ejected 36 Dutch supporters from Monday’s match between the Netherlands and Denmark midway through the second half in Johannesburg.

All were dressed identically in tightly hugging short orange dresses, sold as part of a gift pack by a Dutch brewery. ….

The women, seated near the front, were picked up by TV cameras.

“What seems to have happened is that there was a clear ambush marketing activity by a Dutch brewery company,” said Fifa spokesman Nicholas Maingot.

“What we are doing actually at the moment is that we are looking into all available legal remedies against this brewery.”

….

… they were reportedly taken to a Fifa office where police quizzed them about the dresses and asked if they worked for the brewery, Bavaria.

Bavaria board member Peer Swinkels told Reuters news agency that Fifa’s reaction was “ridiculous”.

“Fifa does not have the monopoly on orange and people have the freedom to wear what they want,” he said.

Judge for yourselves:

Don’t the police have better things to do?

On a BBC Sport blog:

In 2006, two years after winning the race to stage this World Cup, South Africa passed a new law – the Merchandise Marks Act – designed to safeguard Fifa’s intellectual property rights and prevent the sort of ambush marketing Fifa says Bavaria attempted.

Britain already has such laws, introduced following London’s successful bid to stage the 2012 Olympics. But, with an even more highly developed commercial market in the United Kingdom, Fifa will want even firmer assurances that its ability to make money will not be hindered in any way if the 2018 World Cup is awarded to England in December.

Comment No. 10 on the same blog:

When corporations and organisations get laws passed which can effectively make it illegal for people to wear certain clothes in certain areas, isn’t that the final indication that they have far too much power?

How does that law benefit the citizens of the country it has been passed in?

Not just power, but the abuse of power.

Don’t politicians have more important things to do than pass over-zealous laws intended solely or primarily to secure the wealth of the behemoths that are the IOC and FIFA?

After reading this article from South Africa’s “The Mercury”, I can’t imagine myself purchasing a product or services from any of FIFA’s sponsors for the 2010 World Cup for the foreseeable future.

Not that it will make any difference to them.

The car analogy is particularly poor.

(Merger of three posts on Tony Kempster’s Non-League Forum – 1st, 2nd & 3rd)

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6 comments

  1. [...] the other hand, FIFA (like the IOC), has no qualms about insisting on particular laws being introduced in a country before it will allow it to be host.  So FIFA can interfere politically in a [...]


  2. More on FIFA’s financial relationship with South Africa, apart from the earlier ticketing and travel fiasco:

    http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/64932


  3. [...] } As FIFA basks in the publicity, if not the financial success, of the 2010 World Cup Finals, it is easy to ignore the potential discord that lies ahead for world [...]


  4. [...] Thuggery or neo-feudalism?  Perhaps they are the same thing. [...]


  5. [...] Are FIFA Any Better Than Thugs?, posted on 18 June 2010 [...]


  6. [...] On the other hand, there is nothing to stop FIFA from interfering politically with countries. [...]



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