Economists are used to the fact that government spending gets diverted towards strange special interests. But this example from the sports world is stunning:
European Union funds meant to help a poor region of Italy are set to be spent sponsoring the Italian national football team.
The regional government in Calabria, a southern province, wants the money to go on promotional branding during Italy's World Cup campaign.
It would cost them 1.8m euros (£1.4m) over three years.
Regional officials argue it can help raise the profile of their area, both within Italy and overseas.
The idea is that the promotion will attract more tourists to Calabria....
According to one website promoting Italian tourism, Calabria is currently "little-respected by other Italians and little-known to tourists".
It is also home to the N'Drangheta, one of Italy's most powerful and violent mafia organisations.
While I'm no expert, one possibly productive use of the money would be to fight corruption. </naivete'>