I’m a pretty cynical person. It might be age but I am always a little bit skeptical at almost every decision made by the footballing governing bodies. It is unfortunate that the people who run this wonderful game should be viewed as being untrustworthy, but lets face it, they have brought it on themselves.
Money is king and sponsors rule the game. Whatever they say goes and it will only get worse. Currently the sponsorship for the World Cup in Brazil will generate £2.3billion for FIFA, which is an astonishing 66% increase compared to South Africa 2010. This is set to rise again for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as FIFA introduce ‘regional sponsorships’ for the first time, thus increasing their revenue stream even further.
The list of issues with the governing bodies is so long it would take forever to dissect all of the goings on at FIFA (and indeed UEFA)
Instead lets look at yesterday’s historic ‘Official Cooling Break’. The temperatures during the Holland v Mexico game reached 39c and it got so bad that the fans were leaving stands in order to seek shelter. So the decision was made to have short cooling breaks after 30 minutes and 75 minutes.
These breaks were the first of their kind in a World Cup and they have been added to the rulebook for games that reach temperatures above 32c. The referee has final say on these breaks and they have been introduced to safeguard the health of the players.
So, whats the problem? Well nothing on the face of it, it seems like a good idea and it gives the players a chance to have vital fluids in extreme conditions. However this is where my cynical “what are FIFA up to?” hat goes on. Why? Well because of the opportunity that a few minutes break provides for sponsors and advertisers.
Yesterday ITV simply went back to the studio for a bit more analysis but all it takes is for a massive sponsor like Coca-Cola or Budweiser to say “can we show a couple of adverts please?” and things begin to change. What starts as a cooling break for players might become a standard break for refreshments and a chance for sponsors to throw cash at FIFA for the opportunity to have a short, high visibility advert. Could you imagine how much money would exchange hands if a break like this was used during the World Cup final? Over 3.2billion people watch the World Cup final, FIFA could simply name their price.
Okay so this might not happen suddenly, but having seen football change in the last twenty years it would not surprise me if this ‘cooling break’ becomes a standard stoppage and simply becomes another way to generate money for FIFA. All it would take is a large cheque and some sponsors for FIFA to begin the shift towards something like this.
Remind me again, where is the World Cup in 2022?