To me the baseball World Series is a joke. The only thing “World” about it is the fact that Americans across the world will be tuned onto it, only if the T.V. is kind enough to show it. Otherwise they are at the mercy of broadband. Football (or how the Americans like to call it soccer) remains the most popular game in the world. This popularity of the game makes it one of the most promising vehicles to fix a lot of issues. Though footballers remain a mixed sort, often spoiled beyond necessary by an encroaching media, they have the power to propagate messages to millions of viewers. A message on a t-shirt hidden underneath a jersey, a line off an interview, the conduct on and more importantly off the pitch gets free newsprint space, and as such remain tremendous vehicles to spread ideas and fix a lot of things beyond the sporting realms of the pitch.
I have been to over five dozen cities in the world, many of them impoverished, and when in the streets of Nairobi or Johannesburg you see street kids lumbering around in fake replica t-shirts, soiled nevertheless, one truly grasps the power of a football club and the sport.
Yet like everything else in the world, mass commercialization and the capacity to pull every possible dollar has turned organizations into Orwellian reproductions. True social benefit is a side effect. And a pure PR exercise. FIFA, UEFA, etc are all servants of their sponsors. One interesting episode is that of Puma’s CEO, Jochen Zeitz with Sepp Blatter, when Monsieur Blatter came down upon him because the Cameroonian players were hogging the limelight with their sleeveless jerseys is an eye opener. FIFA (and for that matter popular football organizations) exists to make money. And since money and power are intertwined like grease and a smooth slide, it doesn’t take the wildest imagination to wonder the inner workings of lofty minds. The funniest one line joke this year would have been the fines meted out by UEFA. From €100,000 for Bendtner’s Paddy Power underwear elastic band display against €20,000 for Porto’s racism against Balotelli. A third grader’s logic is enough to understand where UEFA’s priorities lie.
FIFA another organization, more powerful and much wealthier than a lot of countries in the world, reminds me of certain nations around the world, with dictatorial leaders. One brute for the other. And may God have mercy on the brute that didn’t survive. For a first hand account ask Bin Hammam. I cannot possibly comment on the inner workings of a Draconian organization.
Football has taken over people’s personal lives. Which in hindsight can only mean good news for the brands that adorn football. Every standoff, every racist chant, every skirmish that makes the newspaper might have chairmen in boardrooms patting themselves on their investment. The more engaged a consumer is with the brand even in the form of an image means that much more value in terms of brand name retention and increment of value so that it truly skirts up the purchase subset.
You might be wondering how Orwellian? The two racism related cases last year gives us clear clues. One man, of African descent, (we can go on arguing about the relevance of 25% contribution) banned for twice the number of games based on one man’s word against the other which was a stark contrast to a Chelsea captain’s recorded cringing profanity. But of course to validate such an injustice, mire all literature with legal speaks, so that the masses can be kept quiet. Every single player is answerable to the FA, but who is the FA answerable to. Kenny Dalglish, is the only man to broach the subject in response to the Hillsborough findings. Will the FA be investigated?
Everybody seems to be trying their best to show they are doing something. Yes the reference to tip of the iceberg but the mammoth mass underneath the water comes to memory. Because as long as the cash register keeps on ringing there is no problem really.
These organizations reek of the champagne piss they are trying to shower the rest of the world with.
So while the world goes around working hard to put a loaf of bread on the table, the organizations that they are, try to make us believe they are doing the same, except no one can see its gold loafs encrusted with diamonds. No you cannot see it from your T.V. facing couch, and if you are, the how in the world are they going to cut such a metallic load? Remember, they have in their hands, a glistening knife sporting a diamond blade. So just shut up and get on along with your work emails.