Airport workers in Rio want raises, teachers are striking. Bus workers in Natal want more money too, while the Metro Workers’ Union, led by Altino Melo Dos Prazeres, are fighting. The Union president admits that the World Cup gave his underlings, overseeing six lines and over 100 stations, leverage in negotiations with the São Paulo state government. With a state population of 44 million people, there’s a lot of discontent to be roiled should both sides pester and poke each other.
FIFA, for its part, has been a huge pest for Brazil, period. Luke O’Brien describes the depths to which FIFA, in collusion with politicians and others, has scooped up dough – from a country that, despite its economic size - ranked 7th out of 194 by the World Bank for GDP in 2012, can’t readily afford the “basics”, let alone afford the construction of stadiums costing 3.6 billion bucks. Worse, those edifices to egos may be unsupportable financially and unused materially once the soccer soiree is over.
FIFA will do A-OK, if their 2010 World Cup earnings of (USD) $2,408 million from TV and $1,072 million via marketing rights, are any indication.
This party is costing Brazil north of 11 billion dollars. Tourists are warned not to have their health head south. “...we have stadiums but we don’t have hospitals.” So the natives are kicking up a near Capoeira level fuss.
But Brazils’ Ministry of Tourism estimates hotels, restaurants, and retailers will take in the biggest expected portion of R$4.05 billion spent by some 600,000 visitors and 3.1 million Brazilians. So reports Lise Alves of The Rio Times.
Everybody agrees the rabidly (but in the best way) - mad - soccer country loves it when seleção Brasileira scores. In the first game against Croatia, hardly an epicenter event, one heard in São Paulo cheers: of elephant sounding horns, deep cannon-like missile blasts, firework crescendos, raucous roaring, heck, even a clap or two. But can a goal, goals, or even a World Cup victory, paper over anger at how the beautiful game has been put together by FIFA? John Oliver, host of “Last Week Tonight” described it as sausage making.
On the subject of messiness, Sepp Blatter opined that more might dine on Women's soccer if they’d only wear skimpier shorts. He should loosen his tie; let blood reach his upper head.
Blatter is the Mad Hatter, President of FIFA.
You know, if you can get past Blatter’s sexism, the possibly corrupt skullduggery surrounding the Russian 2018 bid, the probably corrupt skullduggery involving the Qatar 2022 bid, the apathetic tomfoolery in FIFA’s lackadaisical response in light of probable match fixing leading up to the 2010 World Cup, the countermanding of national laws, such as with Brazil’s anti-booze laws, and the unfettered unaccountability of this autonomous organization writ large, FIFA’s not an overly sordid,
with some 1.432 billion in-reserves non-profit,
But once you eyeball the boardroom getup where FIFA’s plutocrats do their wheeling and dealing, gall comes to mind.
"For the Game. For the World"
“For the take. World's the stake.
Or maybe the motto should be taken from the James Bond movie, "The World Is Not Enough." That fits with Sepp’s declaration that soccer should be played on other planets. May we suggest Uranus, Sepp?
Sepp isn't a complete oaf. He can foresee, He didn't speak to the masses during the opening ceremony, probably figuring he’d be booed off the galaxy.
Back on planet earth, where politicians are universally held in contempt, Barack Obama with lefty college kids and Vladimir Putin with righty Russophiles notwithstanding, Brazil’s first woman president, Dilma Rousseff, was soundly given that country’s Bronx cheer during the Croatia-Brazil match. She shrugged off the verbal shots. She had suffered, among other indignities and atrocities, electric shocks during her three-year incarceration under military dictatorship in the 70’s. Brazil’s protesters, rightly or wrongly, will have to focus their anger on more crucial choke points, like to the aforementioned transportation systems, if they want to dent the president’s armor.
Back to FIFA. For years it has been accused of malfeasance and nonfeasance – with nary any kudos for feasance. Not surprisingly, feasance, as a real word, isn’t common. Not surprisingly, FIFA’s good effort, as a real work, isn’t common either.
FIFA can’t even pack a stadium. Take the empty seats, please. FIFA officials are on the hot seat to explain why seats have been unoccupied. And no, they weren't occupied by Sepp’s other-planetary invisible aliens in matches like England vs. Italy. It seems Brazilians are protesting with their wallets too.
When FIFA’s not blowing our minds with boardrooms and Blatter its numbing us senseless with blather and natter. Uruguay’s biter striker, Luis Suarez, took a chomp on the left shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
FIFA: “We are awaiting the official match reports and will gather all the necessary elements in order to evaluate the matter,”
We: “We’re looking into it.”
Wouldn't it be great if Suarez, metaphorically, took a bite out of FIFA’s ass?
Why should Brazilians be agog at soccer stars’ egregious, edible exploits when they’re aghast at paying more for food and booze during the World Cup?
As for the protests, here are the basics: protesters bring street-and-metro blockages; governments bring rubber bullets and tear gas. Protesters, firebombs; police, gas bombs. Seems like a wash.
In the North is where temperatures and temperaments may especially boil. Poor security guards. What’s worse: handling security in a riot or being match security, forbidden to so much as glance at the game?
Every Brazilian will be more than glancing at the quarter-finals game against Colombia Friday afternoon in “The Land of Light” city, Fortaleza. Will savior Neymar, despite his sore right knee, play? Could Brazil make it to the finals without the slim 22-year old? He has scored more than half of the team’s goals so far. He says he's good to go...
Finally, what should the world do with FIFA? Top European clubs may divorce from FIFA and UEFA in 2014 once their three-year memorandum runs out. They’re thinking of doing the old: Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum we’re appalled, you’re rotten bums.
Can the body of FIFA survive if the old-head Sepp were to do something decent, like go?
Oh, no. Sepp’s vying for another term.
Or does FIFA, if Sepp were somehow given the heave ho, still need a flush? The organization is up to its neck in problems of image and substance. It probably, therefore, needs a complete makeover - head to toe.