Isn't it time that FIFA should be forced to behave within the boundaries of international law?
It is reported that the organisation has left South Africa with a tax-free profit of $2 billion.
Despite big promises from the likes of Blatter and Valcke that FIFA would 'provide the tools to help fight poverty and disease', football's world governing body has again taken advantage of the disadvantaged and then left the scene of the crime with obscene amounts of profit in its pockets.
If you wanted to buy merchandise while you were in South Africa then you could expect to pay anything up to 750 rand (65 pounds) just for a South African replica top. In fact, so strict was FIFA in enforcing its 'official merchandising' only rule that local businesses in South Africa were unable to offer cheaper quality alternatives to the FIFA-licensed products.
And how much did it cost FIFA to produce their official line of products? According to the UK's Guardian newspaper:
The Jabulani ball was not produced in Africa. Instead, it was made by Pakistani workers paid around less than 2 pounds per day.
World Cup mascot replicas were produced by Chinese workers earning less than 2 pounds per day.
Nike's world cup replica kits were produced in Jakarta by workers earning approximately 3 pounds per day.
Why couldn't these goods have been produced in Africa? Why couldn't those who made them have been paid a reasonable wage?
And as for reports that 1.2 million seats remained unsold for the 2010 World Cup - on the basis of what I saw that figure seems accurate. FIFA could have and SHOULD HAVE set aside 10,000 free tickets per match for the local community. Your average South African could not afford to attend the 2010 World Cup finals.
Tuesday, June 1
There will, apparently, be 40,000 police on duty at the tournament with only 300,000 foreign football fans now expected to attend.
'The Sowetan' reports that 12 English football hooligans have been prevented from entering the country, while 3,200 Englishmen must surrender their passports in the next 7 days to inhibit them from travelling to South Africa.
The same paper carries a story about a wall being built around families living in a derelict building near the Cape Town stadium so that visiting fans are unable to see them.
In other news, warnings abound of xenophobia erupting once more when the tournament finishes, whilst all the national media in South Africa report that the World Cup ball, 'Jabulani' is a 'disaster' with players from Italy, England and South America critical of the 'strange behaviour' of the ball at altitude.
The US team arrived yesterday at OR Tambo International airport. The US will be the best supported team after South Africa with 136,000 tickets sold in the United States. (Although I suspect many of those purchasing tickets will be from immigrant backgrounds and are likely to follow a myriad of teams from Honduras to Mexico)