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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The World Cup

Welcome to the World Cup
The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world!  Unless you’re American, that is.  The sport of soccer isn’t really that big in America, and besides that when we want to have some kind of “world” thing like our “World Series”, we usually only want American teams to participate.  Some people think America is the center of the universe!

Stupid people aside, there are millions, possibly billions of people worldwide who care about the World Cup.  They are passionate and hang on every word the announcers say whether watching the matches on television, or listening to them on a radio.  A lot of people who aren’t American will tell you that soccer, English football, European football, or whatever you want to call it is a religion.  For some people, losing a war would be less important than losing the World Cup

The last World Cup was held in 2010.  England had a strong team and was going up against Germany.  I was working security at a Las Vegas casino on the day of that match and it was going to be shown on some large screens in the casino’s sports book.  There were a LOT of people from England in town and they began gathering pretty early in the morning to get good seats in the sports book to root on their national team.  There was a lot of excitement in the air!  Germany took off and scored the first goal of the match and then notched a second goal making it 2-0 in Germany’s favor.  But then England came back!  England scored making it 2-1 and then scored again making it even!  Or did they?

Though the ball went into the goal area and was clearly a goal, the keeper grabbed the ball and threw it back out onto the field and the match went on as if there was no goal.  The English side was horrified!  If football is a religion, then the match referee just stepped on the English God.

I’ve seen cheating in sports before and even a few times when I thought a player was trying to intentionally lose a game, but this was the World Cup.  How do you ignore a goal in a match this big?  Though I was in America when the goal was disallowed, I think I actually heard the majority of England scream.  One guy in the casino sports book stood up from his seat and began yelling “This is an embarrassment!”  He was quite upset.  Germany did go on to win 4-1, but would things have turned out the same if England had been given that goal?  And what crosses my mind is if a referee was crooked enough to not allow a legal goal, how many other illegal things did he allow to go on during the match?  Things just didn’t seem fair.

Now the World Cup is organized by FIFA.  FIFA also controls quite a few football leagues.  So could FIFA have maybe had any part in what happened to England in 2010?  Let’s take a look at the FIFA track record.

Back in 2010 the World Cup, or the FIFA World Cup if you like, was held in South Africa.  FIFA decided that the South African court system wasn’t good enough and convinced South Africa to allow them to create the FIFA World Cup Courts.  So basically FIFA ran their own justice system in the country of South Africa.  And these courts even sent people to prison if they were convicted.  And if you went to the FIFA World Cup Courts, your trial wouldn’t take very long.  Two guys from Zimbabwe robbed a couple of journalists on a Wednesday, went to court on Thursday, and then began 15 year prison sentences on Friday.  NO ONE MESSES WITH FIFA!  To show I’m not kidding, here’s a link to an article:

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is being held in Brazil.  (I spell American.  In European, and according to FIFA, the country is spelled “Brasil”.)  Brasil had a few too many deaths involving drinking and so decided to pass a law that no alcohol would be allowed to be sold during football matches.  One of FIFA’s big sponsors is Budweiser who makes and sells alcoholic beverages.  So in order to make FIFA happy and to have the FIFA World Cup in Brasil, they will allow alcohol to be served at the World Cup matches no matter what their laws say.  Nothing can go wrong with that, right?  But who cares if things do go bad and people die?  It’s FIFA and the World Cup! 

Brasil also decided to spend 270 million dollars, or Euros, or whatever Brasilians spend on a new stadium for the World Cup.  It’s built in a place called Manaus along the Amazon river.  There is almost no access to this place from a normal roadway and really no football team that will play there after the World Cup.  After all the matches are over, the stadium may become a home for a nearby Amazonian tribe.  Either that, or they’ll just let the jungle over grow it like an old ruin.

One question I have is if it’s so hard to get to Manaus, how are fans going to arrive to watch a match?  Will everyone swim, or row, or somehow go up the Amazon river to get there?  I’m sure it’s hard to find tickets to a World Cup match to begin with, but once you get the tickets you now have to find Humphrey Bogart to take you up the Amazon River on the African Queen to get to the damned stadium!  Doesn’t anyone see anything wrong here?

There are rumors regarding bribery to FIFA officials.  Mostly because they decided that the 2022 FIFA World Cup would be held in Qatar.  Sadly, I don’t even know exactly where Qatar is.  The Qatar national football team has NEVER even qualified to enter any World Cup in history, but now they’ll get to host it in 2022?  Oh definitely click the link below if you’d like to read more about this!

The President of FIFA Sepp Blatter claims the organization is “non profit” however FIFA has over a billion dollars in the bank.  That’s more money than quite a few countries have!  They had a shot of him on television when the English goal was disallowed against Germany back in 2010.  I think his expression looked something like this:

Blatter claims the Billion dollars in the bank is a “reserve”. A reserve for WHAT?  What is all this money for?  From what I’ve seen FIFA relies on countries to build their own stadiums, and fund everything for the World Cups themselves, so who gets all this money? Maybe they could use the money to promote women’s soccer?  When asked how women’s soccer could be made more popular, Sepp Blatter replied “They could wear shorter shorts.”  Wow. 

 I will admit that there is one very popular video on YouTube of Sepp Blatter.  The clip is only a few seconds long, but is very entertaining, especially if you don’t much care for the FIFA organization.  I think for this clip I’ll let “Keyboard Cat” handle things:

Ok, I’m sure I’ve ranted and raved enough about the FIFA organization enough.  To be truthful, to me they’re just a soccer video game name.  I’m actually looking forward to the World Cup matches this year since I’ll be able to watch them.  If it were up to me though, I would make one change.  If I could, I would bring a bunch of Oakland Raider fans to Brasil to root for the United States team.  The Oakland Raiders are an American football team and play American football, not soccer, and some of their fans are pretty insane.  Let’s take a look at regular American World Cup fans:

They may scream and yell and even blow into a vuvuzela once in a while, but they’re probably mildly distracting at best.  Now let’s take a look at some Oakland Raider fans:

You think English soccer hooligans can cause problems?  I think we need a stadium full of these guys for the United States matches!  *chuckle*  And since the stadium in Manaus is only going to be used for four matches, these guys can tear the place apart and no one will care!  It’s win win!  We’ll just dress the United States team all in black, write “Raiders” across their kits and let the fun times roll!  *chuckle*

All foolishness aside, I really am looking forward to the World Cup this week.  And if football really is a religion, then count me in.  I’ll be right along side the millions of fans worshiping this weekend.


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