ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Beautiful Game, Ugly Administration

The administration of football does not measure up to the standards set by its best practitioners on the field.

Protests at major sporting events, especially in the developing world, are not unusual. Mega-sporting events have always been used by regimes to “cleanse” their cities of the poor while the governments engage in extravagant spending. This was true of China where the 2008 Beijing Olympics were held and India where the much smaller 2010 Commonwealth Games were conducted in Delhi. But the ongoing protests that have lasted nearly a year against the preparations for the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil have been somewhat unprecedented.

Football is the “beautiful game” for the sports connoisseur, especially when it is played by the Lionel Messis, Neymars, Xavis, Philipp Lahms and other such skilled practitioners. It is also the game that attracts the most widespread support across the world. Every four years, the excitement surrounding the sport rises to a pitch when the World Cup tournament is held featuring 32 national teams which have qualified for the finals. The host, Brazil, is the presumptive favourite in 2014 because of the abundant natural talent in its squad and because it enjoys the “home advantage”. Yet, protestors in football-crazy Brazil have hit the streets to express their unhappiness about the conduct of the World Cup. They have questioned the unnecessary expenditure on fancy stadia, the simultaneous hikes in fees for public services, displacement of the poor and the widespread corruption benefiting officials close to or part of the Workers’ Party that runs the national government.

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