“My reputation is spoiled, because I was bitterly attacked, as responsible for everything. But it will not damage my legacy.
- Sepp Blatter, in reference to the corruption scandal that has damaged both the reputation of himself and FIFA and the enduring FIFA Goal development program, which has built more than 700 facilities for its member associations around the world and provides funding for “essential football projects” including pitches, technical centers, youth academies and IT. The development program was launched in 1998, the year that Blatter became President of FIFA. This work, he believes, will outlast the corruption charges.
Swiss prosecutors have accused Mr Blatter of criminal mismanagement or misappropriation over a TV rights deal and of a "disloyal payment" to European football chief Michel Platini. US authorities have indicted a total of 14 current and former FIFA officials and associates on charges of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption following a major inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Sport, and in particular football, can be used to promote health and development in many countries. However, large-scale sporting events like the football World Cup can have a detrimental effect on the environment and sustainable development. Can FIFA and other governing bodies use their immense influence and budgets to establish environmentally friendly practices?
“Sport is a powerful symbol which eliminates barriers and provides opportunities for rapprochement. It does not have the power to stop tanks, but is capable of bringing people together and can be an excellent platform to open up dialogue, unite people and build trust. Sport is a bond to make a positive change in the world.” - Wilfried Lemke, UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace
An ever-increasing number of leaders in sports as well as politics, business, education and even religion are starting to pay closer attention to how sports can be a tool to benefit humanity. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon emphasized the commitment of the UN System to promote sport as a tool for development – including using it to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
The game of football is a sport embedded in the lives of many people, communities, and economies. Often called “The Beautiful Game,” it is accessible to all. An estimated 265 million male and female players in addition to five million referees and officials make a grand total of 270 million people - or four percent of the world's population - that are actively involved in the game of football.
Football supports development in various ways as it generates income from sports-related sales and services that boost international trade. It also creates jobs, supports local economic development, enhances a country’s reputation, transcends national differences, improves health and social well-being, encourages teamwork, and most importantly it serves as a global communicator while speaking a world language for the sake of social good.
Today is the anniversary of the first World Cup, which was held in 1930 in Uruguay. Last Friday, almost 85 years later, the US Women’s Soccer Team was feted for their victory in a New York City ticker tape parade. A moment quite sweet to contemplate – I was surprised at how many people I saw tuning in and watching the final game.
The economic reality of women’s professional sports is not so sweet. According to PBS, the US Women’s soccer team got $2 million for World Cup win; German men got $35 million in 2014. That New York City ticker tape parade cost almost as much as the US Women’s winnings.
In an interview with the Guardian, Jerome Valcke, Fifa’s secretary general, has argued the men’s World Cup prize money pool is so much larger because the men’s tournament generates more revenue. The men’s World Cup “brings in $4.5bn direct to Fifa,” he said...But women’s soccer is newer, which means the women could be waiting a long time to earn a payout like the German men did last year.
Imagine a football team at the World Cup, just standing around the field watching as the other team breezes right past them and scores a goal. Without taking action to not only help the sick, but protect the healthy, then we, as global citizens, are letting Ebola win this game of life and death.
According to the World Health Organization, as of Nov. 9, a total of 14,098 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported in six countries. There have been 5,160 deaths. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have seen the highest number of cases.
The latest Malaysia Economic Monitor reviews aome key developments in 2013, while also providing in-depth analysis of strutural trends in the country's trade competitiveness. But how competitive is Malaysia (or its trade) on the football pitch? Check out the video below to find out.
The World Cup started in Brazil on June 12. This means that the next few weeks will be filled with anger, anguish, joy, and triumph. Sports fans have always been deeply emotional and obsessed… but also incomprehensible to those who ‘don’t get it.’ Why do fans paint their faces, dye their hair, or engage in bizarre rituals for good luck? Why do we still cheer for our teams despite corruption or other misdeeds?
Edward Hirt, a psychology professor at Indiana University in the US, has researched sports psychology, and he says, "As human beings, we have this desire to feel a sense of belonging or a sense of social connectedness with others, and being a part of different groups (gives) us identities." Scientists have shown that fans who feel personally invested in a team or who attend games and cheer with their fellow fans reap mental health benefits that come from feeling social connected.
The World Cup Football finals get underway in Brazil today – the long wait is over! They mean many different things to the billions around the world who will come together to watch, evoking intense emotions of national pride and glory, or humiliation and outrage. Goals and calls by referees are recalled decades later, hotly debated in a passion for the ‘beautiful game.’ One key aspect of this ultimate expression of globalization is that most of the players are migrants, either playing for their national teams while currently residing in another country (such as Lionel Messi, born in Argentina, living in Spain, and playing for Argentina), or playing for a national team different from their country of birth (such as Diego Costa, born in Brazil, living in Spain, and playing for Spain), or both (such as Miroslav Klose, born in Poland, living in Italy, and playing for Germany).
I was in Dubai last week when the news broke about Qatar's World Cup bid. Qatar winning the vote to host World Cup in 2022 will produce significant increases in migration flows from, and remittance flows to, South Asia, East Asia and East and North Africa.
Qatar employs just short of 1.5 million migrant workers currently. It is the largest host country for migrants in the world: the share of migrants in the population exceeds 85%, for every adult Qatari national, there are 10+ migrant workers (see Factbook, my earlier blog post). Although it does not report data on remittances to the IMF, newspapers quoting Qatar Central Bank reported outward remittances approaching $7 billion in 2010. The sheer increase in the demand for workers for constructing stadiums and developing infrastructure is expected to result in huge migration flows from South Asia, but also from East Asia (the Philippines, but also China). Outward remittances will rise more than proportionately, first because wages will rise, and second, because the authorities will provide greater scrutiny to recruitment practices and working conditions for migrant workers.
My colleague Shanthi Kalathil is working on a "Toolkit for Independent Media Development," which we have mentioned several times on this blog. One of the points she makes right at the beginning is that donors need to distinguish between media development and communication for development. Communication for development means the use of communication tools - usually in the form of awareness raising campaigns - to achieve development goals. Media development, on the other hand, is about supporting an independent media sector in and of itself, it's a structural approach.