Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fick FUFA

Well, friends, brace yourselves for a few more days of cliched musical montages and mindless platitudes as such cultural experts as Alan Shearer and Andy Townsend tell us what the World Cup has meant to Africa.

Don't let FIFA off the hook though.

Stefan Szymanski writes in the New Statesman about how Blatter and Co ensure they are always the World Cup's biggest winners:

There is no doubt that the World Cup has been a joyous party for those lucky enough to attend. There is also no doubt that it has been a bon­anza for Fifa, football's governing body. The commercial income accruing to Fifa will come to about £2.2bn for TV rights, sponsorship and merchandising, while an estimated £800m has been spent on organising the tournament and £700m on local development projects.

Fifa, therefore, generates a tidy profit of £700m, which it either retains to promote its own pet projects or disburses to national football associations: a significant bargaining chip in the hands of its 24-man executive committee. In 2004, the projected cost to the South African taxpayer for hosting the finals was R2.3bn, or £200m (the bid book was lost for years until the Mail and Guardian posted it online in June); the current figure is said to be R33bn (£3bn). Fifa does not pay for the stadiums, but gets to put its brand all over development projects in the host country. And what does South Africa get in return for its investment?

The organisers claim that the event will produce an economic stimulus of R55bn (£4.8bn), generating in excess of 300,000 additional foreign tourists and promoting growth across the economy. Similar claims have been made for previous World Cups and other major sporting events, especially the summer Olympic Games. Politicians seem especially fond of claiming that major events bring significant economic benefits. This case rests on two foundations: first, that the building of stadiums and related infrastructure will boost the construction industry, with knock-on effects into the wider economy; second, that there will be a large influx of foreign visitors. (More)


> As we're in a Fick FUFA frame of mind please also have a look at Pitch Invasion's tale of the lost official film of the 1938 World Cup. FIFA don't seem to acknowledge that the film even exists. Do the Nazi salutes embarrass them?