The Brazilians Are Way Ahead of us South Africans.
Football is a crazy game, it sends the pulse racing and steps up the body temperature. Even tv dozing gogos, can be brought to rebel rousing cheers.
Eleven men chase a ball with the intention of scoring a goal and another eleven men race around the field trying to stop them. It really is as simple as that.
That is until football became commercialized and nationalized.
Suddenly, the eleven players became the holders of the national destiny, all that the nation ever dreamed of being- potent, fast, clever and strategic and just perhaps, all those things that a nation just isn’t, have to be compensated by the national football team.
Fifa knows just how to stir up these national aspirations. Bring out the flags, bring out the national anthems and bring out those beautiful children who trot out hand in hand with with the high -wired football players. In military stance, hands on the heart, the young men bravely warble out the national anthem, to a public who mostly buy into the buzz, hook line and sinker. Fifa provides the „software“ for the international football events, whereas the hosting nations provide the „hardware“. The „hardware“ ( the stadiums, the roads and other infrastructure) are mega bucks expensive and mostly culminate into mountains of debt and white elephant stadiums once the world cup comes to an end.
The glory of the world cup evaporates as soon as Fifa leaves and the hosting nation stand there with all sorts of glamour objects which generate little cash and big headaches. The „ software“, where the megabucks multiply, have disappeared with Mr. Blatter & Co. Fifa takes the cash and the hosting country takes the burden, that is how Fifa likes it.
The Fifa headquarters stationed in Zürich Switzerland, is an architectural master piece of modern glass technology. This glass palace cost millions of Swiss francs to build. (Converted into SA rands we would be talking about billions ,not millions)
Fifa's legal status in Switzerland is that of „a Verein“, which literally means a union, a society , an association, which allows Fifa, by means of yesteryear legislation to pay no taxes! A „Verein“ in legal speak, gets it’s tax exemption because it ( the Verein) is supposed to serve the community, which is of course music from a past century.
There are whispers, very soft whispers it needs to be stressed, in the corridors of the Swiss parliament that Fifa’s legal status must be changed.
Getting Fifa into some sort of fairness as regards tax paying and benefits is not going to be a walk into the park. Who on their own accord would want to give up fabulous profits, fantastic salaries, first class travel and superb hotels at €2000 a night! Expect an army of well greased lawyers in full battle dress to defend Fifa’s position.
Should Fifa’s tax-free status ever come to court, their lawyers will surly argue what enormous benefits the world cup has brought the hosting countries and Switzerland, which is simply not true and brings us to Brazil where many Brazilian citizens see it very differently and this from a football crazy country! The Brazilians are in a good position to judge, this is their second hosting of the world football cup.
Quite a few Brazilians are saying openly, that they are hoping for a Brazilian defeat, by way of stopping future wasteful spending on glamorous football objects, when Brazil so desperately needs other things.
The public transport system is a rickety, unreliable and expensive phenomena.
Crime is staggeringly high, the educational system abysmal and the public health system is hideous. Fifa came and went like a passing cloud. For the ordinary man on the street, the gray everyday is as gray as ever, interspersed with the occasional Fifa glamour object.
This is why you have been seeing all these violent demonstrations in Brazil. Fifa comes, organizes, takes the loot and leaves. A few local politicians do however become a lot richer.
I have read in the international press that Brazil has become the victim of its own success; the reasoning being that the living standards in Brazil have risen, giving way to greater expectations. Brazil appears to have moved away from abysmal poverty to just plain poverty which has awoken some critical faculties to the fact that what Brazil desperately needs, cannot be supplied by Fifa, who are only in it for themselves.
Brazil has had it’s ups and downs with democracy, but they sure have come a long long way. A vocal part of the Brazilian community is becoming more and more noisy to the fact that their hard earned tax money is flowing in the wrong direction. Perhaps we SAs can learn something from the Brazilians, just perhaps.