Skip to content

FIFA fun

2010 September 10
by Dennis Coates

Skip called attention to a op-ed I published in the LA Times. An upshot of the piece, and similar ones in other papers, was that I received an email from someone who works for an organization that was approached by an intermediary claiming to represent FIFA about being a training site should the World Cup come to the US. The person’s group declined FIFA’s, ummm, generous offer. The contract has a confidentiality clause, but my correspondent’s organization did not agree to the contract. Here are some entertaining snippets about the agreement FIFA wanted and the comments on the agreement from the person who contacted me.

1) The contract did not specify how long the organization’s facilities would be made available as a training sight nor when.

2) The organization would pay for all improvements and operations of the site as a training facility. FIFA would pay NOTHING. The organization whose facilities were to be used would cover all the costs and get no revenues.

3) The organization did not have the requisite facilities, so would have to pay a minimum of several hundred thousand dollars to install covered stadium seating, air conditioning in various facilities and a second source of electricity to the facility.

4) FIFA made a list of “core” requirements but under the contract would have the right to expand the list which my correspondent’s organization would be obligated to pay for. The agreement suggested there are more needs that would be specified later.

5) A six foot wall around the training grounds must be erected so passersby cannot watch the practices.

6) Once the agreement is signed, the organization cannot terminate it.

7) If FIFA decides that the correspondent’s organization is not satisfactorily meeting FIFA’s needs as a training site, that organization must pay all costs to build and operate a satisfactory facility somewhere else.

I wonder if the Bid Committee counts all these sorts of concessions and expenses to local groups as benefits in its economic impact assessment.

One of the issues I raised in the LA Times editorial, which was seconded by Stefan Szymanski in the comments on Skip’s post, was the secrecy of the selection process. Secrecy and wildly one-sided agreements made through intermediaries should give everyone pause. Why does it have to be like this? What are they hiding?

My correspondent commented “I understand why the agreement has a “confidentiality” clause. If I signed it, I would not want anyone to know that I did.”

3 Responses
  1. Dan permalink
    September 10, 2010

    I wonder if the same agreements were made when the WC was here in 1994. I suspect FIFA inches up every four years asking for a little more and more until we end up where we are today. Which is probably not as bad as it will be in 4 or 8 years if FIFA keeps getting their way.

    The U.S. dodged a bullet when Chicago lost their bid for the Olympics and hopefully we’ll dodge the WC bullet unless FIFA changes their M-O. Fat chance since FIFA is almost as corrupt as the IOC.

  2. Greg Pinelli permalink
    September 10, 2010

    None of this surprises me in the least! “Hosting” a World Cup is likely filled with endless demands like this..When the US hosted the 1994 Cup the Brazilian team stayed in Los Gatos, CA…a quarter mile from my mother’s home. They cost that small town incredible amounts of policing and the soccer crowds in downtown Los Gatos brought in nothing…they partied, smoked, drank, raised hell..and bought NOTHING of value.

    You’ll notice that all the “benefits” of this practice site are FIFAs and the visiting teams..none accrues to anyone else! FIFA must stand for “total crock of BS” in French.

  3. Don permalink
    September 10, 2010

    I wonder what concessions South Africa made to host the recent WC? The committee seemed almost desperate to get the tournament.

Comments are closed.