Friday, 2 November 2007

2014: FIFA World Cup goes to Brazil

As expected the 2014 will be held in Brazil. Being the only country for South Africa that bid for the games, well not without arm-twisting other minor countries which had shown interest in hosting the event from the sub-continent; it was only fair that it goes back to the country which has won it more times since the first World Cup in 1930.
FIFA had also insisted on having a rotation system where the event goes from one continent to another e.g. from Asia (2002) to Europe (2006) with Africa (2010) and Americas (2014). But given the resources especially financial and availability of playing grounds, infrastructure to support mammoth crowds and transport to & from the venues to filling the stadiums, media rights; they’ve had to scrap the rotation method. This as noted by the capitalist per excellence Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter, will deny the richest sports management organization its much-needed revenues and would put a ceiling on the earnings made from sale of rights to advertise during the World Cup depending on where it is held.
It’s worth noting that there are other issues which seem to plague the game including security (as evidenced by South Africa’s high crime rate which may cause it to forfeit its chance to host the 2010 event). Another issue is the host country’s performance, where if the country hosting the event exits too early there maybe problems filling the stadiums. But if the trend is to be watched, in the last 3 World Cups have seen the hosting countries reach semi-finals( 2002-South Korea,2006 Germany) if not the Finals and winning the World Cup ( 1998- France).
Brazil did successfully host the Pan American Games this year, but some issues need to address for it to be able to prove its worth in the World Cup. One of the hallowed grounds of Maracana Stadium (capable of hosting over 100000 fans at a sitting) needs to be renovated badly to restore its glory. The country also needs to develop proper road and transport infrastructure in smaller cities of Brazil. It has some of the most notorious roads with traffic jams and pollution plaguing it. Alternatives also need to sort.
It was amusing to hear a cheeky reporter as the head of Brazil bidding team Ricardo Texeira what he intends to do with the security issues and he promptly got his answer to the effect that ‘ while there are security concerns it is not to the level of US where school children are shooting each in learning institutions’. He also gave the example of the Pan American Games where no major security breach was reported.
My concern is not even Brazil but South Africa; with security spiraling (what with the recent killing of one of their music icons, Lucky Dube) and a mis-performing national side, will Africa’s main hope redeem itself?

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