HUNTING WHITE ELEPHANTS / CAÇANDO ELEFANTES BRANCOS

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31 July 2012

Non-Olympic Post

The tables below are related peices of information. The first indicates that Brazilian teams do not make much money from putting butts in seats. If, for example, a team's attendance figures dropped in half for a season, this would only mean a 5.5% loss in revenue for the year. This could be easily compensated for by selling a couple of players or penning a new sponsorship contract. This is bad news for fans, as the second table shows


 Brazilian club revenue streams - 2010

Source of income
(%)
Ticket sales
11
Sponsors and advertising
12
Other receipts (i.e. replica sales)
12
Member dues and amateur sports
13
Television
24
Sale / transfer of players
28
Source: Cadernos FGV Projetos, Junho 2010, Ano 5, numero 13, issn 1984-4883

This table shows the rapid decrease in attendances and the staggering rise in average ticket prices over the last five years, the only for which data are available. The perverse influence of television on Brazilian football means that most teams play games on Wednesday nights at 9:50, after the tele-novelas. There is no special transportation scheme, public transportation stops at midnight and all fans are treated like criminals, as if they are waiting for the right moment to offer their fellow fans a Molotov cocktail. This seemlingly deliberate elimiation of fans has been more than compensated for by an increase in profits. The math is simple, charge way more for fewer people, price out your "undesireables" and allow the clubs to pay off the torcidas organizadas to provide the "show" which the television networks will strategically shoot to make it appear as if the stadium is full. This is a years' long process of seperating the people from the people's game. Does anyone think this will improve with the World Cup?

 Average attendance at football matches – Campeonato Brasileiro, Serie A, 2007-2011

year
total paying public
average paying public
gate receipts(R$)
average ticket (R$)
2007
6.582.976
17461
80040848
12.2
2008
6.439.854
16992
101241490
15.7
2009
6.766.471
17807
125764391
18.6
2010
5.638.806
14839
112873893
20.0
2011
5.660.987
14976
117665714
20.8
% Change
-14
-14
+46
+71
Fonte: http://www.cbf.com.br/competicoes/campeonato-brasileiro/

26 July 2012

Velodromo Rio

The continual refrain from the organizers of mega-events in Brazil is that the hosting of the 2007 Pan American Games gave the city's event boosters credibility in the eyes of international sports federations. These very same organizers admit that there was "no substantial legacy" from the Pan, other than going 10x over budget, militarizing the city, and gaining experience in running a major event. To their credit, apparently the Pan was well organized as an event unto itself (ticketing and sports competitions), but the innumerable projects that have been left over to rot in the tropical sun defy full description. 


Among the innumerable absurdities is the Velodromo (cycling track). Built for R$14 million, there is continual talk of destroying the existing structure and building a new one. This is what the president of the Municipal Olympic Authority had to say


“Laudos oficiais mostram que a pista atual não permite a quebra de recordes. E ainda há duas pilastras atrapalhando a visão geral. A capacidade é bem menor do que a exigida (1.500 contra cinco mil lugares). O edital de licitação abre duas possibilidades: tanto para a reforma abrangente quanto para a construção de um novo velódromo. O governo federal estuda também remontar o velódromo atual em outra cidade.”

"The official reports say that the track won't permit records to be broken and there are still two support posts that are blocking the general view.The capacity is smaller than required (1500 vs 5000). The (new) licencing process will open two possibilities: one is to reform the current stadium and the other is to build a new velodromo. The federal government is studying the possibility of moving the velodromo to another city."



If we project that a new Velodromo will cost at least double the 2007 version, we can figure an investment around (and conservatively) $28 million for a sport that is not practiced with much frequency in Brazil. However, people do (or would) use their bikes to get to work, so let's look at the budgeting for bike lanes. 


There is a project called Rio: capital of bikes, which this site suggests has a budget of nearly R$67 million. However, in looking at the ACTUAL money spent by the city government on this project in 2011 and 2012, we find the following: 


2011: R$1,542,890.49
2012: R$1,542,890.49


Ok, great. The city government has invested more than R$3 million on this project, but what does the project entail? 


One company, Sinape Sinalizacao Viaria Limitada, received  R$ 644,228.83 in 2012. What do they do? Signage. Thus, 41% of the bike project budget is dedicated to signage. I haven't seen a new sign on a bike path in years. How many signs can one put up on 150 km of bike path anyway? Something fishy here... 


The point is this: we are spending tens of millions again and again on monumental projects that have no use, are poorly projected, and will fill the pants of the public debt for years to come. In the meantime, the bombast about potentially useful public works projects, like Rio - Captial de bicicleta, has no basis in reality once we start looking at how much money is spent and where. Rio de Janeiro has some bike paths, but they are really inadequate, poorly connected, and when you leave them to try to get from one to another, you run the risk of death. The recently implanted Transoeste BRT line is being used as a bike path, causing some obvious problems between high speed buses and bike commuters. Why are people using the BRT lanes? Because there is no bike path. Why is there no bike path? Because there is no planning and no creative intelligence at work to ends that don't have to do with selling the city to the highest bidder. 


The Velodromo farce is but one element in a larger joke that is taking on cosmic dimensions. But perhaps we won't make the mistake of hoisting the South Korean flag when the North Koreans take the field, as happened on the opening day of the women's football tournament. Nice one LOCOG. 

24 July 2012

Maracazinho


PosiçãoDataPúblicoJogoCompetiçãoEstádio
116/07/1950199.854Brasil 1-2 UruguaiCopa do MundoMaracanã
221/03/1954195.513Brasil 4-1 ParaguaiEliminatóriasMaracanã
315/12/1963194.603Fluminense 0-0 FlamengoCampeonato CariocaMaracanã
431/08/1969183.341Brasil 1-0 ParaguaiEliminatóriasMaracanã
504/04/1976174.770Flamengo 3-1 VascoTaça GuanabaraMaracanã
615/06/1969171.599Flamengo 2-3 Fluminense(*)Campeonato CariocaMaracanã
715/06/1969171.599Botafogo 0-0 Portuguesa-RJ(*)Campeonato CariocaMaracanã
822/12/1974165.358Flamengo 0-0 VascoCampeonato CariocaMaracanã
909/03/1977162.764Brasil 6-0 ColômbiaEliminatóriasMaracanã
1006/12/1981161.989Flamengo 2-1 VascoCampeonato CariocaMaracanã
data from here...(hoping they've done their homework well)

Capacity of Maracazinho in 2014: 76,000


In case you were wondering where the next 10 biggest crowds in Brazilian football history occured: 



1119/08/1973160.342Flamengo 0-0 Vasco(*)Campeonato CariocaMaracanã
1219/08/1973160.342Bangu 2-1 Madureira(*)Campeonato CariocaMaracanã
1329/04/1979158.477Flamengo 2-2 BotafogoCampeonato CariocaMaracanã
1429/05/1983155.523Flamengo 3-0 SantosCampeonato BrasileiroMaracanã
1516/05/1976155.116Fluminense 0-0 FlamengoCampeonato CariocaMaracanã
1601/05/1968155.098Flamengo 2-1 Vasco(*)Campeonato CariocaMaracanã
1701/05/1968155.098Bonsucesso 1-0 Olaria(*)Campeonato CariocaMaracanã
1801/06/1980154.355Flamengo 3-2 Atlético-MGCampeonato BrasileiroMaracanã
1916/12/1984153.520Flamengo 0-1 FluminenseCampeonato CariocaMaracanã
2013/07/1950152.772Brasil 6-1 EspanhaCopa do MundoMaracanã


or the next: 

2129/09/1977152.059Flamengo 0-0 VascoCampeonato CariocaMaracanã
2221/03/1982150.289Brasil 1-0 AlemanhaAmistosoMaracanã
2301/06/1969149.191Botafogo 1-2 FlamengoCampeonato CariocaMaracanã
2428/04/1968149.005Botafogo 0-2 Vasco(*)Campeonato CariocaMaracanã
2528/04/1968149.005Madureira 1-0 Portuguesa-RJ(*)Campeonato CariocaMaracanã
2615/12/1962146.287Botafogo 3-0 FlamengoCampeonato CariocaMaracanã
2709/10/1977146.082Corinthians 1-2 Ponte PretaCampeonato PaulistaMorumbi
2805/12/1976146.043Fluminense 1-1 CorinthiansCampeonato BrasileiroMaracanã
2901/05/1978145.200Brasil 3-0 PeruAmistosoMaracanã
3018/12/1966143.978Bangu 3-0 Flamengo(*)Campeonato CariocaMaracanã

That means, of the 30 largest crowds in Brazilian history, 29 were in the Maracana. Not one of them happened after 1984. 


Here's the list of largest crowds per decade: 

20 July 2012

Guilty, as not charged (volenti non fit iniuria)


To the chagrin of fans of justice everywhere it seems as if Ricardo Teixeira and João Havelange will shuffle off this mortal coil not having served a single hour in prison. Having read through the Canton of Zug’s judicial findings, I can report that the scandal is almost too scandalous. The 15 shades of details are too juicy not to share, so in what follows I provide some quotes from the document that more or less weave the story together. If you are pressed for time, here’s the summary:

Criminal proceedings against former CBF front man Texeira, ex-FIFA boss Havelange and FIFA itself for mismanagement, embezzlement and institutionalized bribery were dropped. All of these charges were documented vis a vis bank statements and contracts dealing with the marketing rights for the World Cups in 2002 and 2006 (among other things). The good Andrew Jennings has profiled these crimes in detail. The court ruled not to continue with prosecution, but considered the defendants guilty because they made partial repayment of the bribes they had received. The logic here: if they weren’t guilty, why would they have given back some of the money? This money was taken in bribes to award World Cup broadcast rights to ISL, a now defunct marketing company. At the end of the day, these criminals took bribes, made millions and then had to pay back a fraction in order to stop further prosecution, thereby stopping the investigation through a sideways admission of guilt. Along the way, they managed to come up with some defensive gems worthy of Michelle Prudhomme.  

From the Swiss Canton of Zug:

Ricardo Terra Texeira unlawfully used assets entrusted to him for his own personal enrichment several times. These commissions, which Ricardo Terra Texeira received due to his position in FIFA, were pocketed by him (for his own use), and he failed to disclose or hand over the payments to FIFA.

Joao Havelange unlawfully used assets entrusted to him for his own enrichmentseveral times. He acted with intent to enrich himself unlawfully.

 FIFA is accused of having a deficient organization in its enterprise

Blatter escapes responsibility:
The new provisions of the statute of limitations are, in principle, only applicable, with reservations for certain exceptions, if the criminal offence was committed after they came into force.

With  this, current president Blatter gets to wiggle his way out of things. FIFA released the most ridiculous interview I can remember, where Blatter had 5 very difficult questions put to him by the FIFA press office and published the responses on the website. Follow this link for a laugh. Ignorance is profitable bliss, ‘cuz you just ran out of time, biatch!

concerning the question of a possible unlawful enrichment under a legal limitation of time aspect are obsolete. October 1, 2003, and thus FIFA cannot be criminally liable for acts carried out prior to this date.”

This witty riposte dealt with one of the off-side traps pulled by the Texeira-Havelange legal team:
The federal court rejected the argument that the assumption that the requirement to deliver had been waived suggested that corresponding agreements were customary (FCD 132 III 466,consid. 4.3). Customs may play a role in assessing the mental elements of an offence, however not when determining whether a duty to disclose or to surrender possession exists.

The defendants had argued that they did not have to return the bribe payments because in Africa and South America, bribing is a “customary” way of doing business. Not to have accepted bribes as part of the contract would not only have been bad form, it would have unduly cheated them of their rightful income. This is a lesson that has been well learned by Brazil Worker’s Party, that has in turn instructed the rest of us that corruption generates impunity.

A related argument for keeping the money was that there was not need to return the bribes to FIFA because FIFA would have had to surrender them to the Swiss bankruptcy court that dealt with the failure of ISL marketing (which had paid the bribes). Thus, it couldn’t be argued that the president and vice-president of FIFA had harmed the organization by taking money destined for it. Genius.

The news coming out of FIFA these days is that they are hotfooting it to institute some reforms. This week they appointed an independent ethics team to tell the fat vats at FIFA how to behave.

This is the crack team they hand-picked for the task (we’ll try to find out more about the massive experience that Messers. Torres, Jones and Abderrahmane bring to the table from their respective homelands):

Appointment of the following persons as members of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee until the 63rd FIFA Congress in 2013:
Chairman: Michael J Garcia (USA)
Mr Robert Torres (Guam)
Mr Les Murray (Australia)
Mr Ronald Jones (Barbados)
Mr Jorge Iván Palacio (Colombia)
Mr Noël Le Graët (France)
Mr Ahmed Ould Abderrahmane (Mauritania)

One of the reasons is that FIFA promised to do something about the institutional corruption and incompetence, which made them liable for the lunatics creating their own asylum is the Zug court’s finding that:
If a felony or misdemeanor is committed in an enterprise while exercising a business activity
within the scope of the enterprise and if, due to the deficient organization of the enterprise, the
act cannot be attributed to a natural person, then according to Art. 102 para. 1 PC, the act will
be attributed to the enterprise. In such case, the enterprise can be liable for a fine of up to 5
million francs.

5 million Francs to FIFA is bus fare.

With all the evidence mounted against them, we see the cleverness of the slippery, criminal mastermind at work:

Both for FIFA, Ricardo Terra Texeira and Joao Havelange, the fruits of criminal acts have to be discounted if there can never be the subject of a conviction due to the application of the statute of limitations and/or because they cannot be conclusively attributed to one Accused or the other.

This is the same way that the World Cup institutional architecture is constructed. No one has ultimate responsibility for anything, thus everyone is responsible for nothing, so anything at all can happen.

In the end, nothing more is going to happen to these crooks, but their names have been tarnished. Here is the naïve report by the Swiss judge:

It does not seem to be necessary to impose an unsuspended sentence in order to prevent the Accused from committing further felonies or misdemeanors. The current proceedings, the psychological stress connected therewith and ultimately also the surrender of not unconsiderable tangible assets should in future prevent the Accused from undermining the purposes of an association that is so clearly committed to activities that unite different peoples. If this finding applies to Ricardo Terra Texeira, then it is even more so the case with regard to Joao Havelange. This is not least of all due to his status as a retired person, which he has been for quite some time, and his advanced age, which will almost certainly preclude a criminal act.

And finally, the icing that should be written on a cake the size of Pão de Açucar:

It must be noted that none of the accused parties explicitly acknowledged a breach of the law; however, this finding is put in perspective by the fact that reparation has been paid in the amount of millions of francs, which can be considered as an implied confession of criminal conduct.

GUILTY, AS NOT CHARGED!!!!






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