Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Futbolicy on the World Cup

For a little more than a month every four years, the world comes together to watch the greatest soccer players compete in the World Cup. New young players have a chance to make headlines, while old stars are able to add to their long list of achievements.

James Rodriguez (left) and Lionel Messi (right)

Does anyone actually know the process that goes into planning a tournament such as a World Cup? There's a bidding process, where teams compete for the tournament to be held in their country. Then FIFA (the government of international soccer) votes and decides on a country that they believe deserves to hold the tournament. Locations are chosen far in advance so that there is plenty of time to prepare. Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 were both chosen in late 2010!

One major question still remains: why would a country want to have the World Cup come to their country anyway? Maybe it's for glory, or for recognition on a global scale. Some might think they have a better chance winning it if it's in their country (I'm talking about you England... or for that matter Brazil). FIFA has a totally different thought process when it comes to giving the World Cup rights, and I believe their thought process is greatly flawed. Over the past series of World Cups, FIFA has given the tournament to countries they believe could benefit from the "economic gains" that they CLAIM the tournament brings. This is the reason that South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and Qatar have all gotten to host the tournament. FIFA claims that although the country will have to spend tons of money, they will get it all back. Figures coming straight out of the Brazil tournament show that the Brazilian government spent $14 billion on the tournament, and only got $3.5 billion back of that money from the tournament. That means that the country of Brazil lost $10.5 billion AT LEAST on the tournament. FIFA tries to make the host countries feel better saying that the new stadiums could attract more fans to local club teams, and that they will eventually break even in the long run. Between the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, South Africa has been trying to make their money back by doing this, but have only made $500 million in the past 4 years from the stadiums they spent so much to build. FIFA needs to stop granting the World Cup to nations who can not economically handle everything that the job entails. I am all for spreading the beautiful game, but this is the wrong way to do it.

Brazilians protest the 2014 World Cup

This being said, I believe I have a solution for how FIFA should handle the World Cup. FIFA should take the five major continents (because who wants to play in Antarctica.... and I'll group Australia into Asia), and switch between each continent from every World Cup. There would have to be criteria set, such as if a country wants to host the tournament then they would ALREADY have to have the infrastructure to host the tournament. By doing this, FIFA could get rid of the huge costs of having to build stadiums, and simply spend that money over long time periods (since there would be sixteen years before the same continent hosts the tournament) on the maintenance of the already built stadiums. If this were to be the case and FIFA were to switch to this system after the 2022 World Cup, this is how I would lay out the next five World Cups:

  • 2026: USA
  • 2030: Germany, England, or Spain/Portugal
  • 2034: Korea/Japan
Because I had a hard time thinking of countries in Africa and South America to host the tournament, I would just give them to the last two countries who hosted the tournament, since they already spent so much money on stadiums so...

  • 2038: South Africa
  • 2042: Brazil
After 2042, this cycle would repeat, but other countries within each respective continent could fight for the World Cup, as long as they had the infrastructure and ability to hold the tournament.

By switching to my method, FIFA and the countries they are currently giving the World Cup to would stop losing their money and the games would be more structured. My hopes would be that their would be less unrest than what we saw in Brazil this summer as well. (Plus the World Cup being in the US in 12 years wouldn't be too shabby.)


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