FIFA, South Africa 2010 and white elephants

If you have some time, please go and read Player and Referee, Conflicting Interests and the 2010 FIFA World Cup (TM), a monograph from the pan-African Institute for Security Studies, on the conflicts of interest surrounding the organization of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa at the expense of local socio-economic development. Two quotes:

At the ceremony in May 2004 announcing that the 2010 World Cup would be held in South Africa, FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter gushed to a crowd including Nelson Mandela that ‘the victor is football, the victor is Africa’. Had he wished to be accurate, however, Blatter would have lauded the real victor as FIFA and its cozy network of business associates, who have together sucked the marrow out of recent World Cups with far more success than the host countries. The South African event perpetuates this trend. At the forefront of the queue of FIFA’s business associates is a shadowy company called Match Event Services, which has been appointed as FIFA’s exclusive official accommodation provider to the World Cup. While the company officially warns accommodation providers to keep room rates low because tourists are ‘sensitive to pricing’, an investigation by the author has confirmed that tourists will have to pay Match 1000 per cent more than they would normally pay for accommodation in certain cases, such as for units at South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

The staggering cost, in other words, of the decision to ‘buy’ Cape Town one to three extra matches was R2,83 billion (Green Point minus Athlone) or R3,37 billion (Green Point minus Newlands). This is the price of 56 642 or 67 390 low-cost houses at R50 000 each: homes for a quarter of a million people and more.

South Africa 2010: Let the football craze begin!

Being too lazy and uninspired to write a decent World Cup post myself, I shall point our readers to a truly funny column by Dave Barry, in the Miami Herald, on football-related activities. One quote:

I truly believe that, even though many Americans say they hate soccer, if they gave it a fair chance — if they took the time to actually watch a World Cup match or two — they would still hate soccer. I don’t know why this is, but apparently it’s not going to change. I’ve given up arguing with guys who tell me how boring soccer is, but will happily spend four hours watching a baseball game in which 97 percent of the action consists of batters calling timeout.

Feel free to use this post as an excuse to share your own football-related witty comments, predictions, pet peeves, vuvuzela imitations, etcetera.