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The 2014 FIFA World Cup gets under way tonight and the eyes throughout the world will be glued to their television for the next month cheering for their favorite team to take home the most coveted prize in world sport. While American's don't pay nearly as much attention to the month long tournament, the remainder of the world treats football as a second religion.
While this is undoubtedly an exciting time for millions of fans around the world, we also must begin to start asking ourselves about how FIFA exploits the host country and convinces them to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on stadiums that will be used for a singular event. All the while many of these host countries pay their workers what can only be described as slave labor wages that only fosters contempt and disillusionment among a host country's population. This years host country is no different.
Brazil lobbied heavily to host this years World Cup and wanted to show the world it is a rising Latin power and a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. This is the first time since 1978 a South American country is hosting the tournament and the Brazilian government wants nothing more to have a successful games.
Perhaps to no ones surprise, what actually wound up happening is the exact opposite of what they envisioned. Mass street protests lambasting the government for spending very finite resources on far away stadiums while millions of people go hungry and children go without an education are becoming the norm. Drug crimes, child prostitution, and a host of other issues are plaguing the run up to the start of the tournament and casting a shadow over what is supposed to be a celebratory occasion.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA for short, is not without major fault here. FIFA lays down draconian demands on host nations and reaps in nearly all the profits from the games, leaving the host country with little more than a load of debt and a number of soccer stadiums that will never be used again. FIFA is exempt from paying all taxes
that are levied in the host country, denying Brazil upwards of $250 million dollars of revenue. They also force countries to change their laws to conform to their demands, as they recently did forcing Brazil to change the law so Budweiser will be able to sell beer during the World Cup. The fact the organization is riddled with corruption
and bribery to the highest degree doesn't help much either.
This begs the question of what can be done about this? How can an organization that is so corrupt be so above the law that we just shrug our shoulders and say it's too difficult to force them to change? It all boils down to one simple answer: people love their football.