Is It Really Useful to Host the World Cup?
FIFA, the governing organization of the worldwide football events, assures that the countries hosting football leagues gain global recognition and reap all the economic benefits. Unfortunately, the numbers show that the benefits from those championships are not so big anymore. Some political leaders have already realized this.
Which would you be more inclined to trust: Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel? As Putin enjoys the focus placed on Russia as host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Emanuel informed the United States Football Federation and FIFA that Chicago is not interested in being one of the hosts of the city event in 2026, when the championship arrives in North America. Canada together with Mexica will host a total of 10 matches, while the United States will host the remaining 60 matches. Why did the third-largest city of the USA decide to give up this honor?
Too Many Requirements – Too Little Clarity
To better understand what it means to host an international sporting event, it should be remembered that, for example, the Putin government spent €51-70 billion on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the current football championship of 2018 costed at least €14 billion. The Russian budget has funded the construction of seven new stadiums, including the one in St. Petersburg, which costed about €1.7 billion, and the renovation of five stadiums that already have been built before. This amount does not include costs for training grounds, infrastructure development, or security.
Chicago, which had to host the opening ceremony of the 1994 World Cup, takes a completely different approach. Matt McGrat, the spokesman of the mayor office of Chicago, recently made a statement saying that FIFA cannot provide even a minimum level of clarity on many key issues, which is risky for both the city and the taxpayers. According to McGrath, FIFA requires to have almost the full carte blanche. It means that one party of an agreement has unlimited possibilities to change the terms of this agreement at any time at its own discretion.
In addition, according to FIFA, the Chicago Bears home stadium, should be closed two months before the beginning of the championship. Finally, the mayor office of Chicago decided that the uncertainty for taxpayers, inflexibility of FIFA, and reluctance to negotiate are clear indications that it makes no sense for Chicago to continue to pursue the title of host for some matches of the championships.
New Stadiums That Nobody Needs
It was claimed that Russia earned more than €14 billion after the World Cup in 2018. All proceeds from ticket sales, international broadcasting rights and sponsorship travel directly to FIFA’s account, leaving Russia with seven new and five refurbished stadiums that it does not need. If Russia does not dismantle these facilities, it will have to spend tens of millions of dollars every year on their maintenance and upkeep alone. Hundreds of hectares of urban space, which are already severely lacking, will remain unused as they will be occupied by these unnecessary monsters.