Posts Tagged ‘FIFA

22
Jun
10

World cup diary – the trouble with FIFA

Amazingly I'm the only one who didn't get nicked that day

With the World Cup finally beginning to live up to the hype it seems football’s world governing body can pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
Not only are goals finally flying in, but with all the scaremongering about potential robbery rape and murder the fact that there have been relatively few violent incidents also means the safety aspect has been well handled.

Well while the World Cup may be a success- unless you’re English, or an Italian manager- FIFA’s handling of certain aspects has been nothing short of shocking.
There was the whole orange dress girls debacle, where FIFA inadvertently gave the chaps at Bavaria Beer far more publicity than the scantily clad ladies did alone. I was at the Holland Denmark game and had my picture taken with a pair of the ladies in question and had no idea what they were meant to be advertising. It wasn’t until they were arrested and the story hit the headlines worldwide that I along with most other people realised they were part of an advertising campaign for Bavaria Beer.
Not only did FIFA give the company more publicity they could ever have dreamed of, they also made themselves look harsh and foolish for over-reacting.

Then there’s the FIFA fan parks which are scattered around the country. Here you can watch all the World Cup games on huge screens free of charge with entertainment in between games. Simple eh?
Well not when they’re run by FIFA. Before the World Cup thousands of South Africans applied for licences to trade at these parks. The cost wasn’t cheap – around 20,000 rand –around 2000 english pounds as a deposit plus a lot more in expenses.
FIFA promised these traders they’d be given prime locations in the parks and that entertainment would be put on near their stalls to keep punters happy.
In the fan park at Innesfree park I visited the stalls were set so far behind the screen, I almost didn’t realise they were there.
The Coca-Cola stalls as well as other sponsors MTN were in prime locations where you literally couldn’t miss them.
The place was like a ghost town and I spoke to a couple of the traders about their predicament.
Jamiliah Khan was running a food stall with her family, she was quite vocal in her anger at the situation:

“My kids education fund, I’ve dug into that, it’s going to take me years to recoup my losses.
They promised that there was going to be a stunning line-up of entertainment that was going to pull crowds.
We thought it was going to be win-win situation for everybody but it’s only a win-win situation for coca-cola and FIFA the small vendors get screwed.”

Joseph Molwatnwa was another trader who was furious with FIFA’s broken promises:

“It’s bad, bad, bad, horrible, they’re changing the rules every day- there’s no entertainment it’s terrible. We’ve lost a lot of money.
“The first day this was open people came because Bafana bafana were playing, but it wasn’t arranged properly, there was only one till open.
“We’ve decided to close down and pack up, FIFA said there would be twenty thousand people a day but there’s been around only twenty people. It’s a disaster.”

Jameliah Khan and family- picture by Jon Devo

While the official fan parks have been something of a total let down that’s not the only area that FIFA have behaved badly.
Recently stewards at five stadiums across the country went on strike due to a pay dispute. This meant that the South African police force has had to step in. While that may seem hardly the fault of Sepp Blatter and his mob, once you scratch beneath the surface you can see it’s again down to the misdeeds of the ‘evil empire.’
Workers were told that they would be given 500 rand per day but then were only paid them 190 causing uproar.
FIFA awarded the security contract to Stallion Security despite several warning signs that this would lead to disaster.

The security company lost their international partner, Securitas from Sweden, earlier this year when they pulled out of the tournament, apparently following financial disputes.
The South African Police Service also had to step in to protect another FIFA tournament in June last year, after the local organising committee and Stallion fell out over money shortly before the Confederations Cup.
According to the FIFA safety guidelines, the local organising committee and FIFA itself, is responsible for safety at stadiums on the day of matches.

While everyone I’ve met here is justifiably proud to not only be hosting the World Cup but also to have done it with a warmth and friendliness I’ve not seen since my raving days ended, there are some major concerns.
Last week thousands took to the streets of Johannesburg in protest at the amount of money the government is spending on the World Cup when so many people are living in poverty.

FIFA has made record profits from the South African World Cup and many here feel the South African bid committee allowed football’s governing body to make far too many stipulations just to have a successful bid.
Here the South African government could be accused of adhering to too many demands, but FIFA should be held culpable for exploiting the situation to their utmost benefit.
South Africa missed out on the World Cup in 2006 by a single vote, after Charles Dempsey- who’s almost as famous as Francois Peinaar in parts of South Africa- abstained from voting despite being told by his confederation to vote for South Africa.

Many of the stadiums here will likely be unused or even demolished after the tournament as some are in areas where there will be absolutely no need for them.
It seems in the nation’s eagerness to become the first African host of a world cup- it was announced that this tournament would be in an African country before the bids were in- the government may have given too much leeway and paid a price that people here will have to live with for many years to come.
The question is did FIFA exploit South Africa, or is this nation’s government to blame? Personally I have only two words in my answer – Sepp Blatter.

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