World Cup Football and economic inequality

This video says about itself:

Why FIFA gives women less prize money than men

7 July 2015

Team USA will split $2 million for winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup. That’s far less than the $35 million awarded to the men of Germany’s national team, who won last year’s World Cup. CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano takes a look at the pay gap.

From Socialist Worker weekly in the USA, by a British author:

Who’s losing at the World Cup

As one of the most popular global sporting events prepares to kick off, there are real questions about whether fans or corporations will be the biggest beneficiaries, writes Mike Marqusee.

June 4, 2010

IF IN the course of a visit to planet earth, an intelligent being from another world attended the great sporting spectacles on offer here, he she or it, without the aid of a translator or explainer, would quickly grasp the essentials of football (even the off side rule), while struggling to comprehend what was going on in cricket, rugby, American football or baseball.

Football is our most transparent and universal team sport. With 202 nations entering the competition, and 32 qualifying for the finals, its World Cup has more genuine claim to that title than any other. It showcases the greatest talents, the most demanding competition and the most desirable prize.

The cricket administrators might learn something from football’s determination to keep its top echelon competition a rare quadrennial event and ensure that nothing is allowed to compete with it.

One of the World Cup‘s great attractions is that the nations meet, as they so rarely do, on a level playing field. And while the stakes are high, they are in a serious sense trivial. It’s not a competition for economic supremacy, it’s not a war or a substitute for war. It’s something benign and human, right down to the crazy weight we attach to it–which our intelligent alien would find harder to explain than the “leg before wicket” law.

But that precious level playing field–that arena in which only talent and commitment counts–is encased within a global playing field that is anything but level. That reality is highlighted by the venue, South Africa, one of the world’s most glaringly unequal societies. Here, first- and third-world conditions exist side by side.

An average African man earns in the region of R2,400 ($320) per month, while an average white man earns R19,000 ($2,600). White South Africans enjoy on average 23 more years of life than their black compatriots. Though they make up only 12 percent of the population, whites hold 74 percent of top management posts in the private sector. Not surprisingly it’s in the host country that feelings about the World Cup are most mixed.

Outside South Africa, the focus has been on whether the country would prove ready, competent or safe enough to host the Cup. Behind that lay the widespread pessimistic view about African capacities. But the stadiums are built, the facilities have been deemed first class and, at the moment, there’s no serious safety concern.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE REAL question was never about South Africa’s ability to host the Cup, but about the Cup’s impact on South Africa.

South Africans were told that the tournament would boost jobs, infrastructure and the development of the country as a whole. The cash-strapped government was lavish in funding the new facilities demanded by FIFA.

But when the country was embroiled last summer in a series of (sometimes violent) protests by poor communities demanding basic service-delivery, local people frequently complained that public funds were being diverted to build stadiums and upgrade airports.

At the same time, 70,000 construction workers on the new stadiums went on strike against what they described as “famine-level” wages ($100 per month). Eventually, some of them were promised complementary tickets to watch a match at the stadium they helped to build. Now even this promise has been broken, as the host authorities try to maximize income from ticket sales (on which they rely because FIFA takes the broadcast and sponsorship revenues).

The new film Moneyball, based on the 2003 non-fiction work Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis, takes up a number of interesting themes, including the corrosive influence of money and profit interests on the sports industry and a winning-is-everything culture in which fame and fortune represent the pinnacle of success: here.

USA: From 2009 through 2011, a defensive coach and players on the New Orleans Saints [American] football team operated a program under which players were paid cash rewards for injuring opponents, with higher payments for more serious injuries: here.

2 thoughts on “World Cup Football and economic inequality

  1. Murder rate ‘at lowest since 1994’

    South Africa: The country’s murder rate, one of the highest in the world, has dropped by 8.6 per cent to its lowest level in nearly two decades.

    Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Thursday the number of murders had dropped below 17,000 for the first time since authorities starting keeping nationwide statistics in 1994.


  2. Pingback: German neo-fascist politician in South African pro-apartheid paramilitary | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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