Just as football fans around the world await the kick-off for the FIFA World Cup™ Brazil 2014, we take a look at some interesting information regarding this competition.
First of all, we must take into account the huge power the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) has amassed so far. An association founded in 1904, governed by Swiss law and 209 member associations, which are in fact, 209 countries taking part by means of football federations and organizations of different kinds. To put this in perspective, United Nations has 193 member states.
Association football (AKA soccer) is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries (according to Wikipedia). That means there are more people involved in playing the sport than people living in England or Argentina.
Given these numbers, only a not-very-bright individual would dispute football is more than a relevant matter nowadays and its flagship competition, the World Cup, an event with global implications.
However, football is not always welcome. The World Cup in particular is not for many, many outraged Brazilians who think government ought to spend more money in education and health rather than building stadia. Owen Gibson (The Guardian) recently wrote “The World Cup is really just for the people in helicopters” picturing the inequality and excess which has angered people in the host country.
Stadia are actually not quite ready for the action in a sign of Brazil’s struggle to comply with all the demands of a tournament of this magnitude.
The groundsman responsible for the pitch at the Manaus stadium which will host England’s clash with Italy on Saturday admitted that the playing surface was in “bad shape” and would not be much better when the game takes place. The Telegraph.
What we can get from all these facts is that football is a product, commercialised by a huge association resembling the likes of the ones you could see in Hollywood films taking over control of people’s lives. Such product finds its highest grossing point each four years during the World Cup, an event most nations would love to host regardless their financial situation. It is seen as a business opportunity by some and as a turning point for others who lack the very basic commodities which are taken for granted in the so-called first world. The voices of those unhappy protesters are bound to be unheard once the whistle blows and the ball starts rolling.
That’s what I think will happen in Brazil anyway, a country often deemed as cheerful and loud, filled with football-loving people who in the end will attend the venues, clubs and virtually any place with a screen and the game on. FIFA will have its glory day nonetheless… and will too in just four years.
June 11th, 2014.