Thursday, July 18, 2013

FIFA's Alternative Reality

Often, FIFA appears to act according to the norms of behavior which govern some alternative universe.

Yesterday, Sepp Blatter demanded that Brazil do something to sop its citizens from exercizing their democratic right to public expression:
FIFA President Sepp Blatter says Brazil might have been the wrong choice as host of the 2014 World Cup if the tournament is affected by more social protests similar to those at the Confederations Cup.

Blatter told German press agency DPA that "if this happens again, we have to question whether we made the wrong decision awarding the hosting rights."

Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets during the warm-up tournament in June, demanding better public services and expressing their anger over the cost to stage the World Cup.

After the Confederations Cup, FIFA spoke with the Brazilian government. Blatter says it's "now aware that next year the World Cup shouldn't be disturbed," adding that he'll discuss the matter with Brazil President Dilma Rousseff in September.
As far as ham-handedness, it is all there -- FIFA's president confusing himself with a head of state, hubristic interference in a sovereign nation's politics and the utter tone-deafness as to how hs comments will be received.

The Brazilian government reacted perfectly predictably:
Brazil’s government underlined the right of its citizens to protest after FIFA President Sepp Blatter said soccer’s governing body may have erred in selecting that country to host next year’s World Cup.

More than a million people took to Brazil’s streets during last month’s Confederations Cup, a test event for the World Cup, to demand better public services and to complain about the government spending almost 30 billion reais ($13.5 billion) on the World Cup...

“The success of the Confederations Cup proves Brazil is the correct choice to host the World Cup,” Brazil’s sports ministry said in an e-mailed statement after Blatter’s comments. “As for the demonstrations, Brazil is a democratic country that guarantees its citizens full freedom of expression.”

Three months ago, Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s top administrator, said “less democracy is sometimes better for hosting a World Cup.”
More and more I am coming to believe that many of FIFA's problems stem from a culture that is so far removed from the real world that its institutional actions reflect the goings on of an alternate universe.


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