Discover more from Beyond The Game
Should Your Country Host the Next World Cup?
Hosting the World Cup and Essential Preparations for Success
With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup coming down to the final wire in a classic European match-up against Spain and England, we’ll be going over some of the socio-economics of the game. Hopefully this will answer the age old questions of, ‘Should Your Country Host the Next World Cup?’
Wrapping up the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand has turned into a dazzling spectacle, setting unprecedented milestones and drawing the world's attention towards the excellence of women's football. Just six days into the championship, stadiums are overflowing with enthusiasts, the streets are abuzz with excitement, and record-breaking viewership numbers are highlighting the global appeal of this phenomenal event.
The dual charm of New Zealand's picturesque landscapes and Australia's vibrant cosmopolitan backdrop is the perfect setting for this world-class tournament. And it's not just the sceneries that are captivating but also the overwhelming support and commitment from both host nations. FIFA President Gianni Infantino's heartfelt gratitude underlines the deep sense of unity and camaraderie that this World Cup has fostered. Such an immense outpour of positivity, coupled with competitive matches and surprise results, promises an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.
The opening day itself was a testament to the tournament's success. Auckland's Eden Park and Sydney's Stadium Australia witnessed a whopping combined attendance of over 117,000 fans. These staggering numbers indicate the sport's growth and the passion that fans bring to the stadiums.
Moreover, the FIFA Fan Festivals have become a hotbed of celebration, drawing crowds in droves. Over 120,000 attendees across multiple cities have participated in the festivities, soaking in the jubilant atmosphere. The global appeal of the tournament is palpable, with viewership stretching over 200 territories and touching almost two billion viewers.
The tournament's early success has surpassed FIFA's initial expectations, not just in terms of attendance but also in capturing global imagination. This Women's World Cup is poised to reshape perceptions and amplify the voices of women in football, setting the stage for a brighter and more inclusive future for the sport.
Key Stats of the Event:
Tickets Sold for First 63 Games : 1.9 Million (Avg. 29,500)
Attendance for Australia’s First Home Game : 75,784
Highest Television Audience for a Single Game (China vs. England) : 53.9 Million
Unique Users on FIFA’s Digital Platform : 22 Million
Beyond the Joys and Goals of the World Cup
So why are countries fighting over each other to win the rights to host one of the biggest events in the world? Well, hosting the FIFA World Cup is more than just a month-long celebration of the beautiful game; it represents an economic and social overhaul that can transform a nation.
1. Investment Surge and Infrastructure Leap:
The required stadiums, hotels, transportation networks, and other facilities necessitate vast capital expenditure. These infrastructural developments provide short-term employment boosts during the construction phase and long-term benefits as these facilities can be repurposed for various other events or urban development projects post-tournament. It's a forward-looking approach where the host nation not only prepares for the World Cup but also paves the way for future economic opportunities.
For the 2014 Brazil World Cup, Brazil reportedly spent about $3 billion on stadium construction and refurbishment alone. This kind of capital expenditure creates a ripple effect in the economy, generating jobs and stimulating local industries.
2. Global Branding and Soft Power Expansion:
Hosting the World Cup serves as a massive PR campaign, where a country can reshape its international image and promote its cultural, historical, and touristic landmarks. It's a unique opportunity to narrate the nation's story on a global stage, drawing attention and curiosity, which can later translate into tourism, trade, and investment opportunities.
South Africa, post-2010 World Cup, saw a 12% increase in tourists, with 8.3 million arrivals in 2011. This surge wasn't just about the matches; it was about people witnessing the country’s beauty, cultural depth, and potential, then spreading the word or returning for subsequent visits.
3. Grassroots Sporting Development:
The buzz created by the World Cup often leads to an increased interest in football at the grassroots level. Youngsters get inspired by watching their idols live, leading to increased participation in the sport. The newly developed infrastructure aids this by providing world-class training facilities and arenas. Over time, this can raise the sporting standard of the host country and inspire the next generation of athletes.
After Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup, there was a surge in football club memberships. The German Football Association reported an increase of nearly 100,000 players in clubs in the subsequent year. The event serves as a catalyst for youth to actively engage in sports.
4. Socio-political Change through Mega Sporting Events:
The true success of hosting a World Cup is not just in the immediate aftermath but in the years that follow. It's about the legacy. By hosting one of the world's most-watched events, countries seeks not only to bolster its global image but to also solidify relationships and establish itself as a key player on the world stage.
Hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup allowed Qatar to showcase itself on a global stage, but it also brought heightened scrutiny, particularly over labor rights violations. The international pressure, largely from the western community, led Qatar to implement crucial reforms, like setting a minimum wage for migrant workers. While seeking to elevate its soft power, symbolized by events such as the World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar also utilized the World Cup to accelerate domestic projects, like their metro system. Beyond branding and geopolitics, such mega-events in Qatar play a strategic role in their national development and security strategy.
Highlighting Past Controversies & What Needs To Be Done
However, the World Cup, like any other event, is not always full of glorious moments. Behind the scenes of the glitz, glamour, and high-energy matches lie numerous challenges and controversies that often get overshadowed by the on-field spectacle. From logistical nightmares, concerns over host cities' preparedness, and disputes over infrastructural developments, to deeper issues like political tensions, the World Cup's underbelly is often as tumultuous as its celebrated matches.
Some of the controversies in the past events include
| Qatar 2022
Deaths of Migrant Workers and Human Rights Abuses: Thousands of workers, primarily from developing countries, were involved in the massive construction projects leading up to the World Cup. Reports emerged about these workers experiencing labor rights abuses, living in deplorable conditions, and facing deception regarding the nature of their employment.
Alleged Corruption in Bidding Process: After the 2010 announcement that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup, questions immediately arose regarding the legitimacy of the FIFA bidding process. Accusations of bribery and corruption marred the award process.
| Russia 2018
Racism and Discrimination: Ahead of the World Cup, there were fears about the safety of non-white and LGBTQ+ fans due to numerous incidents of racism and homophobia in Russian football.
Human Rights Concerns: Many activists and organizations raised concerns about Russia's human rights record, particularly around freedom of expression, assembly, and the country's laws on "gay propaganda."
| Brazil 2014
Public Protests: Leading up to and during the tournament, Brazilians took to the streets en masse to protest the billions being spent on the World Cup amidst the country's social and economic issues. Many believed funds would have been better spent on healthcare, education, and public infrastructure.
Venue Concerns: The Amazonia Arena in Manaus, located in the middle of the rainforest, was criticized for its remote location and the potential environmental impact of its construction.
For a country to successfully host the World Cup, it is imperative to strike a balance between showcasing its cultural heritage and meeting international standards of infrastructure, safety, and inclusivity. A robust infrastructural backbone, encompassing state-of-the-art stadiums, efficient transportation systems, and quality accommodations, is a non-negotiable prerequisite. Additionally, a comprehensive security framework is vital to ensure the safety of both players and fans from diverse backgrounds.
The hosting nation must also display a commitment to upholding human rights, addressing societal issues, and fostering an environment that celebrates the spirit of the game while respecting global diversity. Beyond logistics and infrastructure, there's a deeper obligation: to transcend boundaries, leverage the event for positive change, and epitomize the World Cup's essence of unity in diversity.
Thanks for reading this week’s article of Beyond The Game. If you enjoyed this breakdown, feel free to share with your friends.