HUNTING WHITE ELEPHANTS / CAÇANDO ELEFANTES BRANCOS

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25 October 2011

Rotten to the Core

Ok, so no one liked or got the Gangrene Cup pun. The 2014 World Cup is supposed to be the Copa Verde, playing on an erroneous perception of Brazil as a "natural paradise" while greenwashing the environmental destruction that more than two million km of air travel will wreak. So, perhaps a Shakespeare reference to get us going today, albeit an obvious one. 

There is something rotten in the State of the Copa. Not only is the government forced to create a state of exception to allow the Trojan horses of FIFA and the IOC into the country, but the people who are opening the gates are as incompetent and corrupt as the fazenderos themselves. 

Orlando Silva, who I have long criticized as an incompetent hack and an embarrassment to millions of communists both dead and alive, is struggling to keep his head above the turbulent political waters in which he suddenly finds himself. Last week, Veja (which is not so much a magazine as a blunt political instrument), published an exposé on the good minister and his shady relations with a Military Police officer that also ran some sport’s outfit sponsored by the Ministry of Sport’s Segundo Tempo program. Silva is not doing himself any favors by quoting Pablo Neruda in order to proclaim his “invincibility”, but at least he’s got a sense of humor (or is giving us a good laugh at his expense).

One of the reasons for this attack is that opposition parties are trying to get their hands on the Ministry of Sport’s top spot. The MoS has seen its budget increase by 63% in the last year, a greater percentage than any other ministry, reaching R$2,5 billion in 2011. This is likely to keep increasing as the mega-events go super nova and the state starts paying the orchestra to play even louder to drown out the screams coming from the stinking ship.

Another reason for the attack from Veja could be that Editora Abril, which publishes the rag, is an official sponsor of the 2014 World Cup. There has been open warfare between FIFA and the CBF against Silva who has failed to deliver on his promise to get World Cup legislation passed fast enough and with enough goodies for the Swiss-based gang’s pleasure. By undermining Silva’s already tenuous credibility, Veja has stimulated investigations into allegations of corruption and taken him out of FIFA’s hair. Dilma has responded by taking away Silva’s role as the primary interlocutor between the federal government and FIFA but has for the moment left him at the head of the MoS.

One of the main bones of contention between the Brazilian federal government and FIFA is so absurd as to be laughable, if it weren’t so pathetically base. In Brazil, students and kids under 12 get half-price admission to soccer games. FIFA wants to do away with this so they can make more money on ticket sales. The percentage of money FIFA makes on ticket sales for kids has to be so miniscule as to not even merit attention. This is not to even consider that most of the stadiums are probably going to be empty anyway, or that the percentage of Brazilians in the stadiums for the world up is likely to be lower than 50%. There’s also the question of beer sales but one can’t really expect national law to be respected in this regard especially as the Brazilian company AmBev owns Budweiser. In case you thought that Veja wasn’t in bed with FIFA, here’s their description of why Brazil absolutely has to give everything over to FIFA.

This is happening at the same moment that a federal inquisition is installing a commission to investigate Ricardo (Dr. Jowls) Texeira and the CBFdp.  This investigation was given some propulsion by the news that FIFA is going to give access to long-entombed Swiss court documents that will likely name Texeira and the godfather João Havelange as recipients of bribes from the FIFA/ISL scandal in the 1990s. As Andrew Jennings has long said, this is an international, organized crime family that should be treated with all of the respect and deference given to common criminals. Jennings is headed to Brasilia this week to testify before the federal commission.

No one is sure how these events are being structured. A few weeks ago at a presentation given by the Rio 2016 organizing [sic] committee a vague and confusing diagram showed international journalists just how transparent things are going to be. Carlos Nuzman, in addition to heading up the Brazilian Olympic Committee is also the president of Rio 2016, and is also the head of the Rio 2016 Executive Committee and the General Assembly. Nuzman is also trying to get the IOC age-limit rules changed so he can remain in the circles of power past his 70th birthday, the legal retirement age from IOC posts.

Sports mega-events cram Trojan Horses full of Black boxes, violating national sovereignty in order to turn public money into private profit within increasingly militarized and fragmented cities planned by public relations firms and directed by intentionally opaque and un-responsive parallel governance structures that act in the service of capital and at the expense of the citizenry. I sincerely hope that I will, one day, find evidence to the contrary. For now, that sentence sums it up. 

24 October 2011

A Copa Gangrenosa - The gangrene Cup

The 2014 World Cup Schedule is out! I know you have all been waiting to hear what I think about it but I will let you make up your mind by showing you some data.


Group A cities
Games
São Paulo
BRA:A2
Team
KM game 1-2
KM game 2-3
TOTAL KM
Natal
A3:A4
BRA
3127
2200
5327
Fortaleza
BRA:A3
A2
3971
5698
9669
Manaus
A2:A4
A3
537
800
1337
Brasilia
BRA:A4
A4
5985
3490
9475
Recife
A2:A3
13620
12188
25808



This is the table of games for Group A, which will be headed by Brazil. Each group in the 2014 Cup will play in six cities. The table above charts the cities, the teams that will be playing, and the travel distances for each team between those cities. If we follow Brazil (A1), they play in São Paulo, Fortaleza, and Brasília in the first round. The distance between São Paulo and Fortaleza, 3127 km. Between Fortaleza and Brasília is 2200km = 5327km. Team A4, will have to travel 9475km between the cities they play in (Natal-Manaus-Brasilia). the group as a whole, for six games will travel at least 25808km.

This does not, of course, take into account that Brazil will have their training center in Rio de Janeiro and will fly back and forth between games. Assuming that Brazil makes the semi-final, the team will travel 16,110 km. Brazil’s travel schedule is not as bad as it could be. For instance, whichever team has the misfortune to be G4 (in 2010 it was North Korea), the travel distance for two flights will be 11683km (Natal-Manaus-Recife).
Ok, so the teams have to travel a lot, an average of 3239km per game between the cities for the first round, or a total of 136,052 km. (Remember this does not take into account the distance for the 31 teams to get to Brazil, the return trips to training centers, or the movement of FeeFã people that accompany the games). If we even half-heartedly believe in the tourist numbers thrown about by the organizing committee and assume that the generalized financial crisis will have ebbed and that the Mayan calendar page turn isn’t a mega-event of its own, then we can add 300,000 tourists who will want to follow their teams around Brazil. Say, 5,000 people per game? That’s 20 flights x the average distance of 3,239 per game x 42 first round games = 2,720,760 km of air travel.

On the bright side, some of the stadium roofs will be designed so that they recycle rain water into the toilets. How quaint.

Other interesting tidbits of info that came out of the 2014 WC schedule: stadia that are being designed as white elephants will receive the fewest games. Cuiabá: 4; Manaus: 4; Natal: 4; Recife: 5. Combined, these cities are investing R$1,9 billion (so far) in stadium construction in order to host 17 games of football. That’s 2040 minutes of jogo bonito, or R$93,137 for every minute of World Cup action!!!! There are also huge discrepancies between the distances that teams will have to travel which will surely have an impact on fans and players. Here’s the full schedule, feel free to crunch the data and come up with your own conclusions:
   
Group A 
Games
São Paulo
A1:A2
Team
KM game 1-2
KM game 2-3
TOTAL KM
Natal
A3:A4
BRA
3127
2200
5327
Fortaleza
A1:A3
A2
3971
5698
9669
Manaus
A2:A4
A3
537
800
1337
Brasilia
A1:A4
A4
5985
3490
9475
Recife
A2:A3
13620
12188
25808

Group B
Cuiaba
B1:B2
Team
KM game 1-2
KM game 2-3
TOTAL KM
Salvador
B3:B4
B1
2017
852
2869
Porto Alegre
B2:B4
B2
2206
1109
3315
Rio de Janeiro
B1:B3
B3
1678
429
2107
Curitiba
B1:B4
B4
3090
711
3801
São Paulo
B2:B3
8991
3101
12092

Group C
Belo Horizonte
C1:C2
Team
KM game 1-2
KM game 2-3
TOTAL KM
Recife
C3:C4
C1
716
1133
1849
Brasilia
C1:C3
C2
2348
537
2885
Natal
C2:C4
C3
2135
2200
4335
Cuiabá
C1:C4
C4
298
3543
3841
Fortaleza
C2:C3
5497
7413
12910

Group D
Fortaleza
D1:D2
Team
KM game 1-2
KM game 2-3
TOTAL KM
Manaus
D3:D4
D1
3127
2947
6074
São Paulo
D1:D3
D2
800
2061
2861
Recife
D2:D4
D3
3971
586
4557
Natal
D1:D4
D4
5698
298
5996
Belo Horizonte
D2:D3
13596
5892
19488

Group E
Brasilia
E1:E2
Team
KM game 1-2
KM game 2-3
TOTAL KM
Porto Alegre
E3:E4
E1
1336
4036
5372
Curitiba
E1:E3
E2
1446
1678
3124
Salvador
E2:E4
E3
711
852
1563
Manaus
E1:E4
E4
3090
5009
8099
Rio de Janeiro
E2:E3
6583
11575
18158

Group F
Rio de Janeiro
F1:F2
Team
KM game 1-2
KM game 2-3
TOTAL KM
Curitiba
F3:F4
F1
439
1712
2151
Belo Horizonte
F1:F3
F2
2017
2566
4583
Cuiaba
F2:F4
F3
1004
1372
2376
Porto Alegre
F1:F4
F4
1697
2206
3903
Salvador
F2:F3
5157
7856
13013

Group G
Salvador
G1:G2
Team
KM game 1-2
KM game 2-3
TOTAL KM
Natal
G3:G4
G1
1389
800
2189
Fortaleza
G1:G3
G2
5009
3490
8499
Manaus
G2:G4
G3
537
2200
2737
Recife
G1:G4
G4
5985
5698
11683
Brasilia
G2:G3
12920
12188
25108

Group H
Belo Horizonte
H1:H2
Team
KM game 1-2
KM game 2-3
TOTAL KM
Cuiaba
H3:H4
H1
439
429
868
Porto Alegre
H2:H4
H2
1712
711
2423
Rio de Janeiro
H1:H3
H3
2017
852
2869
Curitiba
H2:H3
H4
2206
1109
3315
São Paulo
H1:H4

6374
3101
9475

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