It is often said that money is the root of all evil, those who don’t have it, want “enough”, those who have it, want more and more of it, the human race is obsessed with money. The world would seize to exist the way we know it were it not for the pieces of paper we all wake up in the morning to make more of, pass on to each other back and forth in taxi’s, money is a symbol of power, and in late 2010, Qatar showed the world that money can buy you a FIFA World Cup – yes, world cups will be played in suitable conditions of 50°C heat in 2022.
Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in somewhat acrimonious circumstances. Development of football in the region is slow, the game is not as exciting as in the rest of Asia and the Middle East, but perhaps the infamous 24 FIFA men who voted for the Middle Eastern to host the world cup had Sepp Blatter’s legacy in mind – as once again – he would’ve managed to take the world cup to new territory, from United States of America for North America, Japan/Korea for Asia and South Africa for Africa.
Air-conditioner will be the symbol of the world cup just as the vuvuzela was the symbol of the South African world cup.
But enough about Qatar, FIFA. The world football governing body is in disarray at the moment, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has just been re-appointed as FIFA President again in a one man election after his former ally Bin Hamman pulled out of the race for FIFA presidency following allegations that he had bribed members of the FIFA Executive Committee to vote for him.
With FIFA increasingly looking like they are going to the dogs, South Africans can look back at the world cup, post, during and pre, and realise that even after the vuvuzela blowing, the euphoric fake smiles and all the false promise that came and went with the world cup, for South Africa, within an international perspective, the reputation of the country was only dealt a huge positive during and post world cup.
Pre-world cup, the British media was on a mission to discredit the first African world cup ever, but none of the allegations that were made by the British tabloids surfaced. Touring soccer fans were allegedly going to be raped, robbed, butchered, gunned down and all sorts of Hollywood movie activities.
After an unsuccessful bid by the English FA for the 2018 World Cup, one that was “deserved” as pundits and “football experts” described, the English, the dominant voice in world football media, were never going to go down quietly, minutes after news broke out of England’s mammoth loss to Russia and all the contesting FA’s such as the Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian and Dutch, pundits were already calling for FIFA to do away with their voting procedures, calling for a wider deliberation for the awarding of the world cup.
How could they deny the English of billions of dollars – how dare they, with the golden boy David Beckham, beloved Prince William, and everyone’s favourite, Prime Minister David Cameron – how could they even think about denying the English their duty, with the self-praised “best technical bid”, ready infrastructure and a known culture as a football mad country – FIFA had to say yes to the Queens doormen. Unfortunately, it was not to be, the failed bid was blamed on Blatter’s obsession with wanting to take football to all the corners of the world, oh and corrupt FIFA officials who were bitter about the BBC’s controversial Panarama document that revealed top ranked FIFA officials had accepted bribes.
Sometimes playing “Yes Sir, Yes Sir” strengthens your relationship with the big Blat’, look at Khoza and Jordaan’s strategy, after narrowly losing the 2006 World Cup bid, they did not accuse FIFA of misconduct of any sort, they pushed for an African world cup for 2010 in which they always knew they were going to win as the only “truly African” bidding country that had the resources to contest with the likes of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.
The only dispute that the 2010 Local Organising Committee had to fight over with FIFA was perhaps – the Vuvuzela.
South Africa, as barbaric and jungle fever like as described by the Royal English managed to win a bribe-less world cup bid – at least we think so.
We can look at FIFA now and frown upon the madness that is happening there, but we know, that in 2010, we produced “A Once In A Lifetime” experience.
“The prettiest people do the ugliest things, for the road to riches and diamond rings” – Kanye West.