FIFA Might Just Be Visionaries ?

This interesting post is by our friend Sav.

My first memories of  ‘the world cup’ are from 1990.

To this date I am not sure if its a ‘real’ memory, or one of those you imagine you had by piecing together what you were told of the events that transpired.  As I was only 4 years of age, the details are vague regardless.

Well the stage was set.

World Cup Final.

West Germany vs Argentina.  A rematch to boot!

My father and his brothers were watching the match with such an intensity as I had not yet seen in men.  They were literally on the edge or over the top of their seats, barely able to contain themselves at the prospect of this, football’s golden trophy.   And all I wanted to do was watch cartoons.  Well, we had one of those old TVs, the ones before remotes – and I edged ever closer, eyes flitting between spectacle and spectator, waiting for my chance to change the channel.  My nerve broke and I went for it and changed the channel – only a split second passed and I changed it back as they let out a roar of anguish!  I wanted to watch cartoons during the world cup final.  To this date I am amazed at my utter lack of perspective.

Well by the time 1994 popped up, I had started to follow football.  And by 1998 even I could see that Zidane fellow was quite good.  2002 was during my exams but I remember that goal for Ronaldinho and the final that Brazil won.  The last worthy Brazilian side in my opinion.  2006 came and I stood amazed as France somehow did not win.  Everyone points to Zidane but the turning point was Viera going off (cramp wasn’t it?) – his driving runs from midfield were opening up the Italians.  It was only a matter of time.  Bloody football, eh.  2010 finally came and this time I saw Africa host a world cup.

And after you have indulged me with my incoherent rambling, I shall endeavour to get to my point – eventually.

I am a South African by birth and as such I – along with all of Africa – found great pride to see the 2010 World Cup awarded to South Africa.  I also found it very interesting.  Brazil 2014,  Russia 2018,  Qatar 2022.  These appointments only confirmed a trend.  A trend it seems started under Havelange and carried on by Blatter.

FIFA is an odd beast.  I will admit that I have not gone into in-depth research – but altruism and idealism married to corruption is an odd combination.

I shall outline my contention first and then attempt to show evidence.  Basically, I have come to believe that FIFA under Blatter has a specific goal – maybe not the main goal, but specific nonetheless – of integration.  Integration of regions into the global fraternity.  Getting awarded a world cup does not just affect that particular country – its affects the entire region.  National pride, regional pride – but more than that, a sense of  ‘we have made it’  –  ‘we have arrived’, as it were.

To truly understand why this matters to developing regions requires a history lesson that is not really necessary.  It is also a very touchy topic.  The gist is that Asia, Africa and the other developing regions were demoralised.  There was – and perhaps still is – a very real sense that they were/are not equal to those fortunate enough to be born in western Europe or America (or Canada/NZ/Australia – lets not forget the Commonwealth).

The developing world was and is growing economically but they had need of a morale boost, a way for the everyman (and woman) to feel they belonged in the global community.  A question of belonging, of self confidence. Besides FIFA, I do not see a single organisation making any attempt to address this pressing issue that is so important to the future of all humanity.

East Asia got their boost in 2002.

Africa was recognised as being capable in 2010.

Brazil is an emerging an economic power and 2014 confirms that status to their people and perhaps is a message of hope to all South America.

Russia hosting the cup in 2018 is an indication that they belong in Europe and not ostracised – although goodness knows how the recent events in Ukraine effect all that.

And 2022 in Qatar.  CORRUPTION!!  They bought it!!  Complain, complain, complain.  What balls does it take to give the world cup to a muslim country in the era of  ‘the war on terror’.  The Arab world, the Muslim world, has been villified from the shores of the Atlantic to the plains of Pakistan.  What does a world cup in Qatar – a stable country amidst an unstable region – say to the region.  Surely, a message of hope and of integration and confidence that the region will one day overcome its current strifes.

What’s the point?

Well, I see a trend.  Sure, FIFA are looking at expanding markets and building revenue.  But what about the people?  How do they feel to host a world cup?

In 2002 I was in high school in New Zealand and many of my good friends were from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, let alone Indonesia and Thailand.  They took immense pride in the Football World Cup being played in east Asia.  It was as if they had been accepted into the global fraternity in a very real and tangible way.  Shown to be equals in a way that the everyday man and woman on the street could appreciate.

2010 in South Africa was the same.  And now Brazil 2014.  Although, I daresay Brazil’s organisers have been somewhat the architects of their own demise.  But the trend is there.  Football as integration.  Football as a tool for global equality.

FIFA have previous in these matters.  Germany won the world cup against Hungary after WW2.  It gave a confidence boost to a demoralised West Germany.  Beaten in war, all their young men dead or in a gulag – the country cut in half.  How badly did they need a ‘win’, any win?

It would seem that winning the world cup is a great confidence booster for a nation short on confidence.  And even being awarded a host of a world cup brings about self confidence for entire continents.

What do you think?

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146 comments on “FIFA Might Just Be Visionaries ?

  1. When are we doing Islam ?


  2. Hunter

    All Arsenal supporters are beasts! I remember going to WHL once with some mates… early 70’s. A couple of my mates, Micky K and Chalkie (yes he was a Jamaican, 6’2 and a ‘orrble cunt. They smuggled in two air pistols and we took turns using the pistols to shoot Spuds in the head…. Ping Ping…… the life of a gooner LOL


  3. They smuggled in two air pistols and we took turns using the pistols to shoot Spuds in the head…. Ping Ping…… the life of a gooner LOL

    ha….this is a pic of our ex goalkeeper (alex tzorvas – pao) in 2010-2011 showing wounds in the back by air-rifles from olympiacos hooligans when we visit their ground.


  4. Hunter

    I was talking about Spud fans, not the players.


  5. oh …sorry…i misunderstood…..

    betwenn fans its a lot worse than air rifles…knives and molotovs..terrible thing..people killing eachother for “colours”…. too much fanaticism …. i dont approve…only when its against the pigs …that i approve 100%


  6. Tell me about it Hunter…. I’ve been there. Fanaticism is an incredibly powerful thing.


  7. Sorry PG. it was a good discussion. but when someone wants to justify monopolizing the WC because of the “superiority of the West” as a final outcome of history, I think it is worth countering some common but historically misguided views and assumptions. But I won’t pursue it further. My point clearly was just missed entirely. Suffice it to say that attempting to involve the Latin American, African and Asian confederations further in the administering of the global game and corculating the WC more widely is, in my opinion, the one (and perhaps only) good thing about the Havelange-Blatter era of FIFA that removed leadership from a clubby European cabal and in particular an Apartheid supporting Stanley Rous.


  8. I would be surprised if there was a single Pontiac in all of Japan.

    Just couldn’t help myself, sorry!


  9. But Limey

    There is Mcdooglies, Calvin Klein, Rolls Royces, Coka Cola and Arsenal shirts.


  10. LIMESTONE…where do you see anything in what i write that alludes to “supremacy” mate?

    perhaps you missed some keywords/phrases such as ..”it sucks”….. “money = sugar” which were put there to show the inevitable victory of capitalism as we all want nice houses with nice tvs and cars and to send kids to uni etc etc…..thats what was meant with the phrase the “west won” ……

    gonna teach me on assumptions now too?..anyway…

    sorry you took it the wrong way ….


  11. why didnt south africa or asia or brasil or qatar tell fifa to FUCK OFF and shove the world cup up their arse? since it is not as per their tradition/civilisation/history to stage western circus acts?????????????????????

    cause they all want a piece mate…maybe not the common people..but the governments do…the ones who eat with golden spoons want to continue eating with golden spoons and will follow th emoney making schemes of the west int he hope that one day they will be part of the ‘family’…………

    i even included the embarassments of my country and the olympics/euro and you dare turn to me and talk about assumptions and “supremacy” ?


  12. Imagine starting an argument with Hunter.!
    Fuck that for a game of dominoes.


  13. if there is a reason to start an arguement then fair enough but i never meant to offend or provoke such a reaction from dear limestone..on the contrary and ideologically i dont like that the west has won .. i dotn liek it that other cultures have to sell out and adopt western lifestyles in order to survive but i have accepted it and found ways to manouvre into doing and getting what i want through the system … most of times ….

    world cup please….quickly!!!!!!


  14. Considering the Greeks were the founders of western civilisation, they have truly fucked it up. It will eventually come around that other western civilisations will fuck it up as well. Just a thought! But then again, wine is the true innovation…. it keeps us all subdued and happy.


  15. Hunter, Clearly I must have missed and misinterpreted real basis of your well-intentioned views about why these other regions shouldn’t have the WC. Apologies.

    NB, yes they do. At other times Chinese porcelain and silk, Middle Eastern glassware, metalwork and textiles were sought after in Europe. The wheels of history, how they turn!


  16. Speaking of the WC, I did a predictor post and wrote up a brief account **over there** but would be interested in views over here.

    I think the big drama is about Brazil, the host country and its team and the relationship between the two. Very often hosts have done well. Would England and France have won without the boost of hosting? But the most successful country in the WC, Brazil, had an awful experience losing the final in 1950 to Uruguay and has never hosted since until now. Neymar and co are under immense pressure and expectation. Will they harness the energy as they did in the Confed Cup last summer or was that a cultural and emotional bit of lightning that won’t strike a second time? The protests and pressure could distract or derail Brazil. I hope they get to the final and think there is just enough creativity in their cohesion under Scolari perhaps to pull it off.

    My big upsets are Portugal and Holland not making it out of the groups. Chile, Ghana instead and I think Nigeria. But my semis are pretty standard: Germany falls to Brazil; Argentina beats Spain.

    I hope Ozil has a good tournament despite his propensity to fatigue in three hot and humid games in the afternoon in the North. I fear he will bear the brunt of the burden of dashed expectations if Germany don’t get to the final.


  17. Argentina for me Limey on the basis that if you have the best player I have ever seen then eventually he will have a decent World Cup. I suspect however, as you say, an Argie/Brazil final.

    And my outsiders to cause the “shock” Ghana who came so close last time until that bastard Suarez intervened

    I expect France to do better than expected, Germany and Holland worse, and England to crumble early, in the group stages – I shall still be there though face paint on, bowler hat on, looting the local electrical shop with the rest of the Engerlaaand fans.


  18. Germany, Ozil to assist Podolski for the winning goal.
    You heard it here first.


  19. If 11 English archers could beat 12000 French knights at Agincourts, then I think they can go to Brazil and do the same.


  20. Anicoll, we are on pretty similar lines as I have Ghana going to the quarters again. They could surprise a big team or two. I was so angry about Suarez’s handball and celebrating The penalty miss–awful.

    I’d be delighted with PG’s scenario!


  21. Or with CCTV footage of your England celebrations!

    NB, you know up close and personally how they are all surrender monkeys, as they are known on this side of the Atlantic. Shakespeare wrote a play; this would surely be worth a commemorative painting!?


  22. Anicoll, will Messi be the best performer at the WC? It will be interesting to see, since his form for Argentina has been improving the last couple of years. Strange these stories about how he throws up from anxiety regularly. Seems to handle it well but I wonder if he feels a different pressure for Argentina where he never played club football.


  23. Limey

    If England were to win the world cup… I would do a painting of Liberty leading the French revolution by Delacroix…. with Jack holding the flag and the Ox just behind him in the cap and waving a pistol LOL


  24. Thanks for the comments following a well thought out post. I want to believe that only Arsenal football blogs are capable of generating such rich discussions. I never read other teams’ blogs but I’d bet my life that such would never be encountered on the most “enlightened” of Chelsea FC blogs.


  25. If the 11 English archers had to do battle in the Brazilian climate I suspect their bows may have wilted NB !

    As for Messi LG he was a disappointment to everyone, himself included I am sure in SA, and was a bit too young to really stamp himself in the German WC – now however is the hour (surely)

    I also think the Argentine NOT being managed by a lunatic might help – I really thought the Argies were brilliant in SA – until they fell apart against Germany


  26. “I shall still be there though face paint on, bowler hat on, looting the local electrical shop with the rest of the Engerlaaand fans.”

    So that’s why Boris has ordered 3 water cannon for the Met Police


  27. I noticed that too Dups – he knows his onions does Boris


  28. “he knows his onions does Boris”

    He should, it’s keeping his ears apart.


  29. Anicoll, that is a good point about the manager. It is al, set up for Messi to have a big tournament. Even the frustrations with Barcelona this season may motivate him. Te collapse v. Germany really was stunning.

    I have always liked Gago, who just never seemed to make it in European club football, but has always been a terrific, elegant central mid for Argentina. Time for that generation that won the youth World Cup, u17?, for Argentina a decade or thereabouts ago to do it on te senior stage. Everyone worries about their defense. But they should be able to score.


  30. PG, that is the great advantage of Northbank, he improves the menu!

    As for the Battle of Crécy, it was the English with the help of the Welsh, that won the day.

    With Ramsay and Bale, England might have a chance. All thinking people will know, slim has left town!


  31. Nice to see you back NOTH…. I thought I’d upset you?

    Yes the English and the Welsh…. but the country boundaries way back then were all a bit blurred.


  32. i have my fear for the african countries in this world cup. nigeria have problems in their defence. their midfield options are not creative enough to support their most potent department, which is the attack.
    ghana are more balanced but they have a very difficult group. i also feel they are not very strong in attack.
    ivory coast have an easier group this time around but the core of their golden generation are past their prime without winning anything substantial.
    cameroon are old and lack unity. they may find it hard to get out of their group as well.

    i’ll want to see messi lift the world cup. and i personally think he is primed to do well in this world cup because he had a relatively quiet season and thus the pressure on has reduced.


  33. Always get to the juicy discussions late. Bloody time difference

    I agree with Limestone regarding the way Havelange and Blatter have run things.

    But I agree with hunter regarding the cultural victory of the west. But its such a sticky topic that you would need essays to even scratch the surface of real history vs propaganda history. Although, I would not class Japan with the rest of Asia. They are still flying the flag for the old ways, in certain areas.


  34. Germany or Argentina for, purely since I like the way they play football at present. African teams have some difficult matches. Coit Ivoire are still my boys buy agree that Ghana are the most balanced. Japan is my hope for Asia.

    Croatia to upset Brazil in the opening match? Any takers? Oh I’m getting excited now!


  35. nah man please dont apologise ..we’re good..i apologise for snapping..its just i never meant to offend..peace limestone ..


  36. Peace, Hunter. What do you think of Greece’s chances in their group?


  37. “Brazil is an emerging an economic power and 2014 confirms that status to their people and perhaps is a message of hope to all South America.”

    Nah, Sav. South America is a shit hole and the natives are quick to let everyone know that. Brazil better hope they don’t get knocked out in the first round because shit is going to hit the fan if they do. People are tired of getting shit on by the cadre of corrupt bastards who control the government.


  38. If you guys understand Spanish, here is a half hour intervie Canal + did with Carlos Vela where he talks about Arsenal, Wenger and a host of other issues.

    If you don’t understand Spanish, well tough shit. You should learn how to be polyglots like Arsene Wenger. Hahahahaha!


  39. chances? ha….. i dont know mate ..we play colombia first game and first game always important, we cant score for shit, but at the same time they might suffer to score against us…then we got to play against yaya toure gervinho and drogba……japan are fit as hell but perhaps we can bully them..


  40. come on gains …be polite…can you do the transcript? ..


  41. carlos vela wants to return to arsenal for sure. all the talks of wanting to remain in spain are just a ploy to make arsenal fight and sweat a little to get him, so as to value him more when he returns rather than seeing him as a 3.5m player. because that amount is paid only for academy players these days.
    by the time arsenal were busy fighting it out in the league and fa cup last season, it was vela who went to the press first claiming arsenal still have a buy back on him and may want to trigger it this season. and that he is better prepared and more matured to play in england now because he is stronger and can speak the language better.

    with the squad we have now, i wont be surprise even if messi wants to join us. we are that good.


  42. George, I’ve got a new post up on my blog today. A culinary journey through the menu Loyalty.


  43. with the squad we have now, i wont be surprise even if messi wants to join us. we are that good.

    NO…. it will upset ozil and theo and … 🙂

    “Papa Arsene, what if i come back and also bring messi with me..its in our dna papa?”


  44. Non…merci petit bastarde, c’est nais pas possible…. Le Ox vond ‘icule extraordinaire. c’est absolimon le tete messi le soir de fondu, jed’i tournet trevaliere. Auf wiedersehen.


  45. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called for managers to be allowed two challenges to refereeing decisions during a match.

    but dear sepp…we need two for every minute with these clown refs.

    so how does the manager decide? waits for the player’s advise?

    who is more powerful?

    obama or sepp ?

    ecclestone or cameron ?

    please dont go sepp…stay forever..we are lost without you….

    ideally the chiefs of world football should be guys like rednapp, no?


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