Brazil 2014: Proposing Alternatives

Read the first part on “The Bastardization of Brazil 2014” here.

The arguments for hosting the World Cup are as thin as the evidence used to support them. The idea that the World Cup brings necessary infrastructure improvements that would not have happened without the mega-event is spurious.

BRT Jo-burg: A success? Depends who you ask...

In the case of Johannesburg, the Bus Rapid Transit line that now links the main tourist area with the World Cup stadium not only eliminated thousands of informal transportation jobs, but cut a swath through the city, and created an efficient link between two places that no longer have anyone going between them.

While there are, undoubtedly, improvements made to airports and ports, in general the time pressures of mega-events force through projects without due attention to the normal (and slower) functioning of democracy. This inevitably prejudices lower-income communities who have less access to media and spend their time working, having to militate for their rights in their “leisure” time.

Here are some alternatives:

♦ FIFA should pay for at least 75% of all stadium renovation and construction projects undertaken for the World Cup. Infrastructure projects related to the World Cup cannot take form unless they were already indicated as part of a city’s master plan. If improvements in access and transportation to stadiums need to be made, they need to go through the same democratic planning procedures as other urban infrastructure projects.

♦ All World Cup stadium projects must include spaces that are dedicated to the preservation and continuation of local football cultures. This could take the form of “living museums”, soccer fields, education facilities, or cultural centers.

♦ All World Cup stadiums must be multi-functional and be integrated into their urban environments as seamlessly as possible. Where there is no proven post-event use for the stadium, the city must be removed from hosting the world cup.

Deserve a voice

♦ Fans’ associations must be included in the discussions regarding stadium design.

♦ Qualified urban planners, city managers, and residents’ associations must be included in the discussion regarding World Cup plans. Currently there is no requirement that any of these groups have anything to do with the FIFA World Cup.

♦ The stadiums used for the World Cup should be leased and not given over to FIFA under the same terms and conditions that guide local or national competitions. These should not become privatized off-worlds dominated by the interests of international corporations.

♦ All World Cup projects must have independent auditors that provide economic viability studies. If the projects are not considered economically viable then they will not be included in the World Cup. If governments are to provide FIFA a subsidy for hosting the World Cup, there must be a guaranteed return on investment either through the creation of functional public spaces, or the creation of social, environmental, and educational programs that have legal guarantees.

♦ Resident nationals of World Cup cities should have first choice for tickets at half the face value charged to foreigners. This will guarantee a local presence and stimulate cultural exchange.

♦ Multiple feeds and production facilities should be allowed to transmit the World Cup. In the current format, FIFA controls all images and production rights. The images that emerge from the FIFA production booth are currently the only narrative of events that the entireworld (save those seeing the game live) are able to experience. This is an undue appropriation of what has become an integral part of human history.

♦ Local security forces should remain in charge of public space. FIFA should bear some of the burden of security costs.

14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by SteveM11 on 2010/11/02 at 9:58 PM

    These are some good ideas. FIFA is not going to use a one of them. Yes, they are corrupt, will pocket their money and leave Brazil holding the bag, and they won’t shed a tear or lose a night’s sleep about it.

    I’m not trying to be a jerk, but what possible motivation would make Sepp and FIFA change? I guess if there was a worldwide boycott by players which is extremely unlikely.

    But seriously, in a parallel universe, this is the way that things should be done.


  2. Posted by Alex on 2010/11/03 at 4:36 AM

    move world cup to the US


  3. “♦ Resident nationals of World Cup cities should have first choice for tickets at half the face value charged to foreigners. This will guarantee a local presence and stimulate cultural exchange.”

    You might want to add an average income exception to this one….


    • “♦ Resident nationals of World Cup cities should have first choice for tickets at half the face value charged to foreigners. This will guarantee a local presence and stimulate cultural exchange.”

      I like this idea except I think there should be some percentages attached to the statement.
      – 25% for each participating teams’ supporters
      – 15% for 1/2 price tickets with the average income exception being put into place
      – 25% for face value tickets for locals
      – 10% for FIFA/Host Nation/Large Corporations to do with what they please

      Then you have to work out who gets to sit in which sections; the midfield line on the sideline opposite the main camera should be reserved for the 10%, put the locals and fans of the participating nations closer to the fields and in good seats opposite the main camera so the TV viewers can get a real feel for what it means to these people to be attending the event.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/11/03 at 6:51 AM

      Locals should be guaranteed a certain percentage of the ticket allocation. You want tourism for the for the obvious multiplier effect it has.


    • Posted by Tux on 2010/11/03 at 6:52 AM

      I feel like this needs to be looked at more carefully. The chance for scalping here is ludicrously high, and in a country like the US where the average citizen does have spending money…well, it becomes a capitalist’s dream. Joe Public buys 10 tickets for $50, turns around and sells them for $90, and has made a 80% profit for doing essentially nothing.


      • Scalping does cause concern, but there are cities/teams within the US that do their best to prohibit it, and I’m sure there are other teams/cities in other nations that have good plans in place as well that would be more than happy to share their ideas.


      • This was my (perhaps too subtle) point.

        Countries like USA/ West Europe cannot do this, because we can afford the full price. You’d likely run into legal trouble offering tickets at different prices, if not large-scale fraud.


  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/11/03 at 6:58 AM

    I think these are some very valid and interesting points in theory, but in reality I am not 100% sure. The reason I say this is because I feel it could act as a barrier to entry for certain countries (especially bullet no.1), and encourage FIFA “rotate” the World Cup between the usual suspects.

    FYI – there is an interesting section in Soccernomics about hosting tournaments.


  5. Posted by s44 on 2010/11/03 at 3:31 PM

    Surely “have them all in the USA” isn’t the worst alternative. 😉

    (Though I hope we’re soon at the point where the US team is so good that the main objection would be sporting fairness.)


    • Posted by zlionsfan on 2010/11/03 at 6:07 PM

      Given the way the World Cup works, there are no doubt many people in other countries who would see that as not the worst alternative … in other words, their countries aren’t being squeezed for every dime by FIFA.

      How much money would a WC make for the US anyway? Even if no stadium improvements needed to be made anywhere, doesn’t revenue for the host nation come only from visitors from other countries, and only from what they spend outside the grounds (hotels, restaurants, etc.)?

      More specifically, it’s not income for the country as much as income for the cities that host matches, and the value comes only from the revenue above and beyond what they would ordinarily collect during the time they host matches, either from higher rates or from greater occupancy. At that, there is also probably revenue that is lost due to “normal” visitors who do not visit because of the event or visit but spend less than they otherwise would (can’t get into a restaurant, that kind of thing).

      I know, we wouldn’t get the WC every time anyway, but I’m not sure I really want it in the first place. It’s not like we have buckets of money sitting around; I certainly don’t care to have cities scooping up what they can and emptying them into FIFA’s trough.


  6. Posted by Smitty on 2010/11/09 at 10:57 AM

    All great ideas…Now, our 10 angry voices (the number of commenters plus the writer) will surely be heard by FIFA…right?


  7. […] entries in the series: I, II Not going off without a […]


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