I must say I was surprised to see Aussies in favour of holding the World Cup in 2022 and for a number of reasons.
- The process is swamped in corruption and has been for many years
- The sport doesn’t have much of a following in Oz particularly at the National competition level
- The financial benefits look highly suspect when you dig down into the real costs
- The major football codes would have had to make concessions in their program to fit it in
Just like the Olympics, the Fifa process is designed to reward those who offer bribes. (Or gifts if you prefer the spin doctor term.) Already this year’s event has been exposed as having been corrupted with 2 people unable to cast a vote. When the “inducements” were first mentioned I thought Aussies would have started drawing away from a process that will take years to be cleaned up (if ever). Really, why would Fifa bother to destroy a nice little earner for the loyal septuagenarians?
Last weekend there was a match in the National competition that drew a very impressive audience of 1,500 spectators. No joke. 1500. You can easily get a crowd that size in a country football match Beyond the Black stump and why would that be? Watching grown men taking a dive hardly inspires a devoted following. I suppose the up side is there will be plenty of room for international soccer fans because Aussies have better games to watch.
The Financial benefits
This is an unknowable thing. Give a Pollie a good stat man and anything is possible. The recent Olympics probably looks good to the number crunchers but if you look at the actual crowd figures there is no way the outcome was cash positive.
The impact on other codes
This was the most worrying area. Soccer has always had a problem being recognised as equal to the major football codes in this country due to poor following and ethnic undercurrents. The sport has tried to remove the “wogginess” but still the odd flare gets ignited and the folk inspired by ethnicity will be hard to subdue. Aussies can see that soccer is trying to gain political support rather than build from the fan base. That usually means the handouts are higher than the fan base deserves. Aussie Rules and Rugby fans should rightly be concerned about a minor sport getting a free ride.
But now we have the double gold as it were.
Firstly, we don’t have to waste millions on infrastructure and advertising trying to induce the crowd numbers and building capacity for a sport that wont be able to fill the venues after the event.
Secondly, we get the chance to bitch about how “We woz robbed” because we only got one vote and the inducements would suggest we had paid for more.
Of course there is the little matter of the Poms getting double our vote. We just have to suck that one up with the consolation that they were dumped out in the first round too. If only the vote were reversed between us and the Poms. We could have scored a triple Gold.