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.
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.
♦ 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.