Plenty more reasons to hate FIFA

After reading this article, I wonder why someone doesn’t start an alternative World Cup tournament in 2012, 2016, etc. FIFA is atrocious and needs some competition to keep it honest:

[FIFA president Sepp] Blatter, a Swiss moneyman who draws corruption allegations like a Chicago pol, oversaw several boneheaded decisions in the run-up to the tournament [including] …a sweetheart ticketing and accommodation-booking contract [that has] frustrated both fans and local South Africans and potentially cost the host country millions that would have been spent in foreign cash.

The deal in question was with a company called MATCH Services AG, which is co-owned by the company where Blatter’s nephew Philippe is CEO. MATCH reserved almost two million nights’ worth of rooms in hotels and guesthouses across South Africa in anticipation of 500,000 wealthy foreign visitors. But the company also tacked on high surcharges that helped drive up prices….

[F]oreigners, who were already paying $1,500 or more in airfare to visit South Africa, simply decided not to make the trip. Lots of people. Numbers are impossible to truly gauge because Blatter runs FIFA like one of those banks down the street from his offices in Zurich, but the best guess of Danny Jordaan, the head of the local organizing committee, is that more than half of the foreign visitors projected to show up at the tournament will instead be watching it from their sofas at home.

…What’s worse, some international fans had already bought pricey game tickets ranging from $80 to $160. But now they couldn’t afford to use them. They directed their wrath at Blatter. On the forums of BigSoccer.com, angry fans inveighed against FIFA and its president. One commenter described FIFA as “unorganized organized criminals.” There was even chatter about a class-action lawsuit. FIFA has tight security controls on transferring ownership of tickets and an impossibly opaque system for reselling them.

…The World Cup is never the economic boon for host countries that many think it is, and FIFA, a tax-exempt organization that will bring in $2.7 billion off television rights for the tournament, has hardly been charitable. Last week, security guards at several stadiums went on strike over pay. FIFA, they claim, promised them $65 for a 12-hour shift. Instead, they received $25 from their employer, Stallion Security Consortium. Around 3,000 locals took to the streets in Durban on Wednesday chanting, “Get out, FIFA mafia!”

Posted by James on Monday, June 28, 2010