Chapter 3, Today’s World Cup and Olympics, explicitly showcases the effects and repercussions for some countries when hosting major sporting events. I believe Zirin did an excellent job of putting things in perspective.
South Africa successfully bid for the FIFA World Cup and in doing so caused a major uprising within the country. Thousands of people were displaced from their homes and put up in ‘tin roof shanty towns’ so that the country would appear cleaner and to create place for the new stadiums. Local vendors who had been selling indigenous goods near the vicinity were removed and banned. This was done to make way for the big global chains to establish their presence.
As Zirin said, “The areas surrounding stadiums were to resemble American suburbs with fast food chains…”
The chapter mentioned how several gallons of water supplied to the stadiums to make the grass look unrealistically green was crystal clear, whilst the unfortunate, displaced residents were drinking water ‘with things moving in the glass.’ The World Cup was coming to South Africa and they had to show the world what they were capable of. There were out cries from humanitarian organizations that ultimately resulted to naught.
South Africa like several other nations that have won a World Cup bid, sacrificed basic human rights of their own nationals to impress the rest of the world. A double-edged sword, on the one hand they are attempting to boost the respective country’s image whilst simultaneously hitting at the comfort, livelihood, image and basic amenities of their nationals.
With the next FIFA World Cup coming up in another developing nation, the situation is remarkably similar. Brazil’s planning process could be said to be even more inhumane. Zirin states that 1.5 million families will be removed from their homes between now and 2014. Presently, several slum dwellers have had their entire homes destroyed and are living in the rubble reminisce.
For this not to become a recurring phenomenon, FIFA could have a strict humanitarian clause included in their selection process.
Zirin, D. (2013). Game Over: How Politics Has Turned The Sports World Upside Down. (p. 51-72). New York, United States of America: The New Press