Football a game for all? Unless you are poor!



It takes a lot to take dent the love of football the Brazilian public undoubtedly have but FIFA appear to have accomplished that. The world’s footballing governing body act like a national superpower themselves akin to an huge conglomerate who march into host countries of their competitions demanding these nations sing to their tune and ensure that the footballing jamboree that follows runs smoothly.

This means that governments and national associations are under massive pressure to deliver five star modern stadiums, well maintained public transport systems and the safety and security of everyone involved, especially the suits who work for FIFA.

All of this and Sepp Blatter and his cohorts enjoy the added luxury of not having to pay a single penny in tax to the host country which in effect means that ultimately it is the people of Brazil who are forced to dig deep in their pockets to pay for the privilege of holding a lucrative tournament such as the Confederations Cup.

And when the last batch of FIFA bosses have departed and the show is over then reality sinks home for the locals.

Like someone waking up the morning after overindulging on a massive bender the host nation has to wake up to the fact that whilst they may have some great memories to reflect on the burden of having to pay for it all is a heavy one.

brazil-protests1What we are witnessing now on the streets of Brazil is something which has threatened to boil over for some time as the public are forced to deal with the consequences of their government assuming the responsibility of hosting FIFA’s latest tourney.

For those who have a passing interest in economics the notion that a nation such as Brazil is ill equipped to hold something like the World Cup appears to be ludicrous as this behemoth of a country is being talked of as a superpower of the next decade alongside Russia, India and China (the so called BRIC countries).

But scratching below the surface and you see that there still exists a massive underbelly of an underclass, people living in the infamous favelas whilst the bourgeois middle class is on the rise, reaping the benefits of a traditional left leaning but ultimately more business friendly government.

It was from these favelas that the likes of Pele and Rivaldo escaped to find fame and fortune in the only sport that really matters in Brazil and the joy of watching football is one of the few things that  helps with easing the struggles of everyday life for the unfortunate souls who dwell in these slums.

Unfortunately for these poor souls the thought of purchasing a ticket to attend matches to cheer on Neymar and co is a pipedream and so the sight of stadiums not being packed to capacity has been one of the negatives at the Confederations Cup.

You need only cast your mind back to the last World Cup in 2010 in South Africa which was meant to be the icing on the cake for a nation which had endured years of suffering for the masses during the horrific apartheid period.

The sight of large new stadia not being full was a common one with the ultimate legacies being the fact these grounds have now become white elephants and debts to pay for the privilege of attracting the cream of world football to their shores.

What is beyond doubt is that when tuning into any of the matches recently from Brazil you cannot escape the sight of the large billboards as FIFA’s business partners such as McDonalds, Coke and Visa attract top class exposure.

Sepp Blatter and co are always quick to claim they help bring people together but as we are witnessing on our evening news it is in a spirit of protest that the people are coming together.

FIFA’s motto is a ‘game for all’. That maybe the case if you have money such as Russia and Qatar, the hosts of World Cup 2018 and 2022.


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