Olympics, World Cup: please God, no


2:40 pm - December 2nd 2010

by Dave Osler    


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I remember going on a business trip to Glasgow which happened to coincide with the seventh world congress of flower arrangers. Perhaps because I did not appreciate the popularity of this pastime, I didn’t think to check for any clash of dates on that particular score.

So it was that 32,000 attendees – predominantly ladies of a certain age – and poor old me descended on No Mean City at the same time. It was hard to get a decent hotel room, and the resultant shortage of taxis made me late for more than one appointment.

In a country where infrastructure is as woefully inadequate as it is in Britain, major events inevitably put a strain on the inhabitants of the places in which they take place.

As an east Londoner who has no interest whatsoever in competitive sport, I am already dreading the 2012 Olympics, which is largely taking place on me own bleedin’ manor, squire. It’s going to be a pain in the arse for us locals, and the promised benefits will be nowhere near as significant as proclaimed.

Already the Olympic Delivery Authorities is advising people not to use the tube throughout the proceedings. Hello? Remind me again, just whose council tax is pumping billions into Transport for London every year?

Never mind, it won’t half be a laugh when the Central Line breaks down and leaves thousands of high price ticket holders stranded somewhere between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green.

Yes, the Olympics will have some regeneration effect. But if the name of the game is simply to build extra flats and sporting facilities for Londoners’ use, then surely the best plan is to cut to the chase and do just that, and skip the stupid jamboree bit altogether.

We are about to find out whether or not England gets the 2018 World Cup. Please God, no.

Stefan Szymanski – a bit of a leftie when I used to know him, but who now seems to be professor of economics at Cass Business School – completely dishes the idea that staging the competition will mean a £3bn boost to the UK economy.

While hordes of footie fans will no doubt flood in, just as many ordinary tourists will be deterred from coming to Britain by the rip-off pricing, overcrowding and security fears.

Let’s just hope that Spain and Portugal have been able come up with bribes sufficiently large to sway the day with the FIFA executive, who presumably don’t come cheap. Otherwise, anyone from anywhere sunny up for a one-month flat exchange in eight years’ time ?

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About the author
Dave Osler is a regular contributor. He is a British journalist and author, ex-punk and ex-Trot. Also at: Dave's Part
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Reader comments


I think it’s ridiculous, from the world cup angle at least, to say no to £100mil + income over a summer on top of what we’d usually expect because of a seemingly very Left wing pettiness over sport.

I’m writing this before the announcement of who gets this. I’d have to say I disagree on pragmatic grounds. The main rival is Russia, a country that has not begun to take racism as seriously as it should, and is way behind the UK in this regard. As such this reason alone should disqualify it, and giving the WC to england specifically because England is a multi-cultural society would send a strong message.

Secondly, I think you need to read Flying Rodent’s points on recent threads. The last thing we want to do is alienate people by being seen to be anti-football – yes if you don’t like I’d imagine the media coverage and inconvenience will annoy you. But this is exactly the same reason we get NIMBYism when it comes to music festivals, carnivals etc. The UK will be a far poorer place without such things.

A World Cup will probably not deliver as many benefits as claimed, but that does not mean it won’t deliver any benefits at all.

The only other thing, is that as a Welshman, I just hope we qualify. Just once in my life……..

Miserable Git

I’m looking forward to the Olympics, and hopefully the World Cup – in fact I will literally jump for joy if the World Cup is held here.

That’s what life is for – why bother with any of the rest of it, if we can’t do the good stuff ?

And frankly I don’t care what it costs.

Now, I can see your misgivings regarding the Olympics and their expense, but as far as the World Cup is concerned, the groundwork is already there – most of the stadiums have already been completed, including the New Wembley and the Emirates Stadium in London, while the public transport is rated as another of the bid’s strengths. Hopefully Crossrail will be done by then, too.

I would be interested in seeing tourist figures for the mid 90s, as in 1996, we hosted a football tournament that was half the size of the World Cup.

As a football fan and an Englishman, I’m crossing everything in the hope that football will come home in 2018.

Either way, not long until we all find out…

Oh bugger off Dave, you boring old git. The WorldCup rocks

6. Luis Enrique

Dave

I’d guess >50% of economics professors would call themselves a bit of a leftie, so why the ‘but’ in the bit about Stefan?

Manchester certainly wants the world cup, they estimate an £80mil boost to their economy just for Manchester alone, based on figures from Munich in the German world cup in 2006. It’s clear that there’s not a lot to lose, objectively, by having the event here.

8. Luis Enrique

I’d love to have the World Cup here – I loved Euro 96

Well, Luis … there are lefties and lefties. And if memory serves, comrade Szymanski was rather more than a milquetoast Keynesian back in the day.

10. James from Durham

Yes, but who’s going to get this £100 mil plus? Probably not me, not my mates. Oh yeah. it’ll be the usual freeloaders who get appointed to quangos etc.

Thank god I don’t have to live in London!

11. the a&e charge nurse

[2] “A World Cup will probably not deliver as many benefits as claimed” – certainly not on the field judging by our lacklustre showing in S Africa – still I doubt if too many S Africans would have been against hosting a global sporting event because it might have caused a level of inconvenience on par with the flower arrangers?

It has been a little while since I have come across such a curmudgeonly take on a competition usually enjoyed by millions of footie fans.

“As an east Londoner who has no interest whatsoever in competitive sport,…”

I hate to bring this up, but the event is technically about world peace, you know. Since they started handing out Nobel Peace Prizes to every other US President, it’s nice that they still make these little gestures every few years.

13. the a&e charge nurse

[8] “I loved Euro 96 ‘ – yes, especially this incredible moment?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0OCRrvMBpA&playnext=1&list=PLA3563385C1061880&index=130

“I’d love to have the World Cup here – I loved Euro 96”

I thought it was a bit of a letdown for you, being knocked out in the quarters on penalties thanks to some dubious refereeing decisions. And you didn’t get on the scoresheet either.

“Ladies of a certain age”? LOL you’re right! It is funny that not all women are young and buxom! The inherent hilarity of this throwaway remark entirely justifies its complete irrelevance!

16. the a&e charge nurse

[14] “I thought it was a bit of a letdown for you, being knocked out in the quarters on penalties” – splutters ……… surely you mean SEMIs?

No, spain were knocked out in the quarters, and Luis was a little dissapointing throughout the tournemant 😉

18. Luis Enrique

but the hospitality of our hosts made up for it

19. Shatterface

Couldn’t give a toss about sport but millions do. I don’t begrudge them their pleasure. Its not like I seek their approval over what I get up to, is it?

To me the biggest drawback to sports events is people who don’t like it trying to dress up their displeasure as political principle.

The main rival is Russia, a country that has not begun to take racism as seriously as it should, and is way behind the UK in this regard. As such this reason alone should disqualify it, and giving the WC to england specifically because England is a multi-cultural society would send a strong message.

What an absolute load of nonsense. It’s the World Cup.
That’s how much of the world is.
What other countries would also fail to live up to your high expectations?
India, Brazil, China?

From the Beeb website:

1530: I am hearing that England were knocked out in the first round of voting, which is why they already know they have been eliminated. All unconfirmed at the moment, but they are coming from a source close to the bid team.

1529: The rumours coming out of Zurich are that England have missed out on the 2018 World Cup. These are just rumours at the moment, mind.

If by 2018 we haven’t invented a device that filters football, the weather and the phrase “at the end of the day” from our conversations, I, for one, won’t wish to be alive.

23. Luis Enrique

BenSix behold

It has been a little while since I have come across such a curmudgeonly take on a competition usually enjoyed by millions of footie fans.

Really? You must have missed this gem.

PS: It’s…Russia – you can relax now, Dave..

25. Shatterface

At least balalaikas are less offensive to the ears than vuvuzelas.

26. the a&e charge nurse

[24] thanks ………. but, err, no thanks.

So it’s Russia, eh?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/9250585.stm

I’ll bet Soviet flower arrangers must be furious?

a&e,

Do Soviet flower arrangers have to comply the strict patterns determined five years previously?

28. the a&e charge nurse

[28] “Do Soviet flower arrangers have to comply the strict patterns determined five years previously” – correct, Watchman, but the unlucky florists are expected to achieve the same production levels in a mere FOUR years should there be a successful world cup bid!!

At least balalaikas are less offensive to the ears than vuvuzelas.

Maybe…but what about all those vulgar boatmen

30. Luis Enrique

fifa clearly feeling right at home with corrupt gangster states

Luis,

Be fair there – FIFA managed to (temporarily) lower violent crime in South Africa, so they may be able to deal with corruption in Russia…

At which point I might finally give in and concede they can do a good job.

You’ve got to give them credit for variation at least. 2018 World Cup played in country with highest rate of alcoholism in the world. 2022 World Cup played in a country where you need a doctor’s note to get a beer.

Football was clearly invented in China, along with cricket, lawn tennis and the jet engine.

Tim,

The problem for the Chinese was that combining cricket, lawn tennis and the jet engine together made an unholy mess. If they had invented them seperately they would have got full credit…

19, the article itself:

People, the Olympics isn’t about sport it’s about peace. It’s so that nations can compete together peacefully instead of WARfully like usual. Otherwise, yes, it is a huge waste of time and money.

35. Shatterface

‘People, the Olympics isn’t about sport it’s about peace. It’s so that nations can compete together peacefully instead of WARfully like usual.’

You are confusing it with ‘Its A Knockout’

I hope this is the last time we bid for this event. The idea that we send our politicians on their hands and knees to beg for this jamboree is sick making. These unelected organisations that run sport have been run for years by aging fascists who have created the biggest con game going. They are basically fascist states within a state.

They will not allow any interference in our own FA. Who the fuck are they to tell us what we can or can’t do regards football? I have thought for many years that any politician who wanted to please a great deal of football fans would announce the end of the FA, which frankly has been unfit for purpose for decades. But FIFA would not allow it. Yet these same FIFA con men insist that our politicians drop to their knees and grovel before them. They insist that if we hold their tacky event they will pay no tax on the profits, and that our local traders can fuck right off because the giant corporations should sell their shit.

I hope in the future more countries will refuse to bid .

OH ffs, its a farce. I mean Qatar…..you may as well have the world ski championships in the seychelles and the yacht racing in Austria.

The only proper response to this outrage is for the FA to declare that England will boycott the World Cup games in Russia – and Qatar as well. Any lesser response will lack credibility.

Well Dave, Now you needn’t worry about being inconvenienced by the World Cup it’s going to Russia with love. We only got two votes; presumably one for HRH, one for ‘the most famous footballer in the world’ and nil points for the most unconvincing Prime Minister in the world – well who did he convince? Now we only have Boris and the Olympics to be nationally embarrassed /nauseated by. And the Russian’s didn’t even play their first team of persuaders! There must be a funny side to this – perhaps we will be more successful in hosting the World Stand-up Comedy championships?

“What an absolute load of nonsense. It’s the World Cup.”

Oh dear Damon, I’ve just spotted your latest trolling. Here is a big clue; the other member who voted for England was the African football president. Why? Well it might be because he didn’t want African supporters to have to travel to a country where there is a real risk of being beaten up, and he might have considered it to be a bit much to have African teams having to play in front of racist crowds.

The fact that FIFA seem to ignore, and indeed seem to prefer, countries where journalists get beaten up and killed, fans are free to chant racist taunts from the stands and where a corrupt elite enrich themselves at the expense of the poor (Ok that applies to england too) says a great deal about the organisation. I’m not even english and can see that this stinks.

Ask the Greeks about the economic benefits of big sporting events. Didn’t they have the Olympics a mere six years ago?

42. Chaise Guevara

@ 40

This doesn’t undermine your point, but speaking of race issues, respected news source the Daily Mail has identified why we lost the bid: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1335107/WORLD-CUP-2018-Un-English-video-screened-FIFA-delegates.html

It’s black people, folks.

43. George McLean

Presumably if Vince Cable had had England’s vote in his hand, the result would have been 1:20.

Fully aware that the Olympics probably won’t make money. But, as mentioned above, the underlying ideals of the Olympics are a ‘good thing’, the whole world coming together for the purposes of peaceful competition, ideas of fair play etc.
Why would you object to that?

I’d take up a sport, Dave. It’s good for you and you might even enjoy it. You’ll relate to sporting events in an entirely different way!

And I know exactly WHY Russia and Qatar won: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/fifa-russia-qatar/

Typical anti competitive sport, lets all play co-operative games and all must win a prize leftie. Bet you had a letter from your mum every week for sports at school, and when you didn’t you were crap. At all of them.

Matt – Did a socialist once steal a girlfriend? (The best comeback, of course, would be “No, just me taxes…“)

Not to my knowledge, I’ve stolen a few socialists’ birds tho…………….


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