Tuesday, October 30, 2007

England's Obnoxiousness on World Cup 2014

For those who don't follow soccer, FIFA has all but announced that the 2014 World Cup will be in Brazil (as FIFA's president said yesterday, "It won't be in Brazil only if Brazil suddenly stops playing soccer"). This is huge news not just because it returns the World Cup to Latin America for the first time since the 1986 Cup. It also finally breaks the (incredibly stupid) tradition of making Europe host every other cup. Up to this point, it's always been "Europe/another of the 5 continents/Europe/a Second of the 5 continents/Europe...". Getting out of this stupid notion that Europe is the center of soccer (consider how many Africans and Latin Americans alone make up the "European" clubs) is wonderful.

However, not all in Europe are taking the news about the 2014 Cup so well. An article in England's Financial Times yesterday said that, by giving the World Cup to Brazil, FIFA was guaranteeing that 2014's cup would be absolute "chaos". It alleged that corruption and the total lack of infrastructure would completely destroy the World Cup. That would be fine, except that it pretty much doesn't know what it's talking about. It says, for example, that not one of the18 cities in Brazil vying to host some games has a stadium ready. Except that, last I checked, Maracanã stadium in Rio alone just went heavy renovations and improvements in 1950, and holds well over 100,000 people. Likewise, Engenhão stadium, built in Rio for the Pan-American games, holds over 50,000 and is brand new. And when I was in Brasília in July, they were already starting major improvements on the stadium there, turning it from a 30,000 to a 90,000 seat, state-of-the-art stadium.

And Brazil just did host the Pan-American games, which are no small feat. Were things a bit harried as the games approached? Yes. But once the federal government stepped in in February of this year, any charges of corruption practically disappeared, everything was done well, and the games went off without a hitch. And while that was basically the efforts of one city/state and the federal government, the World Cup will have all of Brazil involved.

The Times even nearly says as much, yet is convinced that it will be a disaster. There is, simply put, nothing to support this, and I suspect the English involved at the Times are simply angry that they did not even get considered for the World Cup in 2014 (nevermind that England's soccer authorities didn't submit anything to host the 2014 Cup). As I joked to my wife yesterday, this seems more like a case of soccer-envy - after all, England only won one World Cup, and it was in England, so maybe they just fear that, until it returns, it won't happen again. No matter what the reason, this is just absolutely stupid, selfish, idiotic reporting on the Times' part. No country right now is more deserving of hosting the Cup than Brazil, and I'm thrilled they've all but gotten it.