Tag Archives: Olympics

Stupid after the fact

We have always heralded stupidity, some in their work sphere, and some in the private sphere. It happens. Yet, when we are lucky we get to see the rarest of events, ‘greedy and stupid’ in one neatly wrapped package. That is the view we need to take when we see the Associated Press give us the events of ‘Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic committee‘. So as we are treated with “In total, 11 detention warrants were issued for people in both Brazil and France in what police dubbed “Operation Unfair Play.”” we need to wonder how this came about. Now, there is the non-existing reality of ‘honour amongst thieves’, yet when it comes to the corrupt that rule will never exist. Most of these people are merely one skip away from being a target themselves. So when we see that the associated press gives us not a lot to go on (most merely circumstantial facts). The NY Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/sports/olympics/whistle-blower-says-he-told-of-rio-olympics-corruption-years-ago.html), has a lot more. With “Mr. Maleson, an outspoken critic of Mr. Nuzman, made accusations about Olympic projects and asked the I.O.C. why it had not prevented Mr. Nuzman, 75, from occupying the dual roles of leader of the Rio 2016 organizing committee and chief of Brazil’s national Olympic committee. “This is a clear conflict of interests, and the I.O.C. should never have allowed this to happen,” Mr. Maleson wrote in a Sept. 6, 2014, email to the I.O.C.’s president, Thomas Bach, and the organization’s judicial body. He contacted the I.O.C. in 2012 to accuse Mr. Nuzman of corruption and election fraud“, here we see systematic failures of organisations that grew beyond their means of comprehension. Consider the time-line. When we consider the Oxford Olympics Study 2016, with: “the outturn cost of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics at USD 5 billion in 2015-dollars and cost overrun at 90% in real terms. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games“, The paper by Bent Flyvbjerg, Allison Stewart and Alexander Budzier (The Oxford Olympics Study 2016) shows levels of failure. The mere realisation of cost overruns that goes into multiple editions of 100% makes it a multi-billion dollar cash cow and there are too many players eager to dip their private (or is that privacy) parts into the golden troth of exploitation. Now, this does not state that Carlos Nuzman is corrupt; it merely gives us the setting. With the NY Times, we see that there is a much larger issue. The fact that there are clear records that there were issues and oppositions, whilst we now see that nothing was done, shows larger levels of failure that seem to be more about not rocking the boat, than to stop hurting the utterly broken image of the Olympics. When we consider the person linked to this, we see that Eric Leme Walther Maleson is the founder and former president of the Brazilian Ice Sports Federation has a long lasting life in sports and winner of three bronze medals in the sport, so we have a winner. This man seems to have been devoted to sports for most of his life. So it is a voice the Olympic committee should not have ignored. You see, the broken image of the Olympics, an image that went from excellence in sports towards the need for big business to promote their products under the guise of media exploitation is utterly void of spirit. Coca Cola, Dow, Intel, Samsung and Visa have changed that landscape. Agreeing to a situation that shows a growing curve of getting it all (namely the infrastructure) in place. You see, the earlier mentioned paper is important, even as we see “cost per athlete has been increasing for both the Summer Games and Winter Games, driven mainly by London 2012 and Sochi 2014. Overall, however, the changes over time are statistically non-significant for both Summer Games“, it is important as we know, or should know that the Olympics are set in three parts: ‘The event, the players and the cost of the location’. If the increase of cost per athlete had been significant, we would have had a less to go on, so with them out of the equation (and take the massive cost for Sochi 2014 away) we now have two elements: ‘The event’, which gives rise to internal corruption of stakeholders and sponsors; with the internal corruption of sponsors not in the mix (at present). We are left with the location and the stakeholders. Now, we all agree that the cost of everything goes up, but consider “15 of 19 Games (79 percent) have cost overruns above 50 percent and 9 of 19 Games (47 percent) have cost overruns above 100 percent“, now we can accept that such events will always come with the cost of business, we need to consider that ‘cost overrun‘ is merely a motto for political downplay of elements in their moment of national pride. I personally see it as an optional place where you can soften opposition with parked billions!

I believe that the paper has cornered certain Olympic elements and it cannot prove it, yet by exposing other parts as non-factorial we now see that the Olympics are a much large mess than the media is making it out to be. Even as we are focused on Carlos Nuzman, we are ignoring the elements that are part of the machine behind it. So when we see USA Today “French and Brazilian authorities said Nuzman brought together businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, and Lamine Diack, the former head of track and field’s governing body who at the time was an IOC voting member. Soares Filho’s company, Matlock Capital Group, allegedly paid Diack $2 million into a Caribbean account held by his son, Papa Massata Diack. Authorities said Lamine Diack, an influential African member from Senegal, was instrumental in organizing the African bloc of votes. The widening case implicated four-time Olympic medallist Frank Fredericks. The former sprinter from Namibia has said a near-$300,000 payment he received via Diack’s son on the day Rio won the vote was for legitimate consultancy work. Still, Fredericks lost his place leading an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles” these all seem legitimate elements in all this and it is not part or regarding ‘Frank Fredericks‘, I wonder how and what work he did to get the $300,000. I and many others have never been offered $300K for a consultancy job, so what does ‘legitimate’ entail? The element in this is ‘an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles’, you see, what would they have been privy to and exposed to? The USA today gives us that in the very last line. With “dozens of top politicians implicated in a sweeping judicial corruption investigation in which construction giant Odebrecht illegally paid billions to help win contracts” we are exposed to the cost of doing business. Paying 2 billion to gain 11 billion in contracts is merely good business and the locations still need to be constructed, the untold part in all this. Odebrecht is present in South America, Central America, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. They have been stepping on large toes and as such certain French players are eager to see it stop. Construction is the largest unmonitored Wild West industry remaining on the planet. Odebrecht with a value now approaching 42 billion is an issue for many players. Even as we are confronted in the US with “Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, reckoned Friday’s economic data indicated UK GDP growth may likely be limited to just 0.3% for the third quarter, he also acknowledged the disappointment in trade and construction output“, which might not be anything worth mentioning, unless you see it next to Odebrecht and the currently unsubstantiated channels towards a multiple billions (read: expected 2.08 billion) to get 11 billion in extra jobs, now it becomes something the American players (as well as the European ones) are getting huffy and puffy about, because if Odebrecht is getting it, they are not and that is where investigative parties get creative. So when we see “They emerged with suitcases, documents and a computer“, we need to wonder. Was the taken away party actually that stupid, or are we witnessing a new Flim Flam visitation of: watch ‘here’ whilst out of view certain deals are brokered. In all this the sponsors are still part and equally guilty. You see the sponsors let cost overruns of over 100% go and not give proper light to EVERY element in this. Merely that the local political engines were sorting it out for them (and those political players get to live with the consequences), the sponsors merely move on. As I personally see it, these sponsors are supposed to be intelligent, so this is happening with their silent approval, only when they fail to meet the targets that is set towards the costs, only then will we hear them loudly. This is exactly why Qatar 2022 remains in the news, again and again. The media is already kicking up stinks because they aren’t getting anything out of it, they are merely in a place to either accept it or move out. The Daily Mail is giving us more and more allegations and even as some smile because Qatar did not qualify for the world cup 2022, we see “Qatar’s elimination will be enjoyed by its many critics in the West who claim the emirate should never have been given the chance to host the World Cup, pointing to a lack of footballing pedigree as well as corruption and labour abuse claims“, how about these critics in the west shut up as continue to suck the tits of corruption they are currently sucking on? I am more lenient towards Christopher Davidson, who with ““Having never qualified for a World Cup before, I don’t think Qatar should have ever made the claim that it was a genuine footballing nation,” Christopher Davidson, a Middle East expert at Britain’s Durham University, told AFP” we might accept their words, yet when we consider the Jamaica bobsled team, ending up ahead of United States, Russia, Australia and France. Should we take bobsleighing away from the USA or France? We have heard 2 years of utter bullshit of these critics with supposedly showing all air and no evidence? In that same light, should we dissolve the Sunday Times this coming Monday? Remember the claim of “obtained millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid“, so if they do not go public with all the evidence, can we force closure of the Sunday Times? Personally I find the existence of Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens offensive. They represent what is wrong with media today, so if they are gone, I will feel happiness. They are going with alleged and proclaimed, whilst the construction levels of corruption are happening at their front door and at that point they remain really really silent. In light of FIFA, we have seen levels of failing where the press was eagerly not rocking any boats at all, merely when big business saw it was losing out, at that point everyone screamed murder and mayhem.

These players have been stupid after the fact for much too long and as such we need to consider whether we need to overhaul the Olympics in ways never conceived before. Perhaps it will downgrade those events for the much larger extent. It will no longer be about drugging, about substance abuse or about the next mobile phone that works better when you drink Coca Cola. It will be about athletes competing for the title of who is actually the best, no sponsors, no advertisements and no billboards.

This is all still ongoing, with Qatar finishing Hamad port, we will see more and more issues rise, but as the stream for completing the WC 2022 event going straight into Qatar, we see that some players will take other venues to see what stink they can kick up. We can see the validity of France trying to aid in resolving the issue. An opportunity Turkey let fly by is now in the hands of Bertrand Besancenot, diplomatic adviser to the government. As France has close ties with Egypt and the UAE while also being a major arms supplier to Qatar and a key ally of Saudi Arabia, we see a player that is eager to find a solution for all as they greatly benefit any solution. If there is one issue, then it is the one that the UAE edition of the National brings us. With “Despite its claims of being ‘under blockade’, Qatar has also expanded shipping routes to India, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan and announced plans to raise its liquefied natural gas (LNG) output by 30 per cent in an effort to weather the boycott“, we see a dangerous turn as there is an actual danger in pushing to raise output towards 30%, as I see it, it requires certain players to circumvent larger safety settings, which could be the start of a very different disaster in Qatar. In addition, who in Al Jazeera will be part of the committee in charge for building and setting up the media centre during WC2022? It could potentially become a new Al Jazeera building merely months after the event and as such, it is an opportunity for Al Jazeera to set the bar for their competitors in the Middle East even higher. There is nothing like raising the output of your own station by 300% to truly get more visibility. In that view, as we will soon hear on how Qatar has optionally additional satellites available for all reporting parties, has anyone considered the impact of government fuelled competition? So when we are stupid behind the fact, were we not looking on what is additionally provided for? So when we are watching Tokyo bring live every match and event in hi-res to our G5 phone free of charge, has anyone considered the fact that we spend an additional $400 to get that phone ahead of schedule? So with 3-5 players getting an additional share of $20 billion for 5G on the initial launch, what is the part we were not looking at? Until the moment is there, we can understand that players like Apple, Google, Huawei and Samsung are quiet as a mouse, but all that ‘bedazzling entertainment‘ represent additional construction billions, additional satellites and longer terms benefits not charged or taxed, all under the guise of: ‘sports’. If it is true that we see the first pilots go live during Pyeongchang, and we will all readily accept that this will be the shining moment of Samsung (the local player there) as it shows what more we can expect from becoming the mobile entrepreneur, what do you think that Tokyo (2020), Qatar (2022), Beijing (2022) and Paris (2024) will bring? These 4 will have a growing infrastructure need which means that construction will grow even further. Four events that can only be done and almost literally set in stone by the strongest and largest players in construction, the instant moment to make several billions merely by being at the right place. That is what others fear Odebrecht could do. Larger players that are at present not ready to the extent that they needed to be for the upcoming considerations. Even as we see the South American headlines regarding Odebrecht, we need to realise that Odebrecht is everywhere. In that, it is: ‘who’s who in Legal’ that brings the ending gem to all this. With “Big-ticket cases involving the likes of Rolls-Royce, Petrobras, Odebrecht and Barclays remain at the forefront of the international corporate crime market, encompassing both corporate and individual defence and therefore keeping a vast number of lawyers across the world exceptionally busy. It is a trend that the majority of lawyers canvassed during our research see no sign of abating, as the fight for transparency and the activities of enforcement agencies intensify” we are shown to the cost of doing business and Odebrecht is not alone and it is not evil, the world changed yet the players on other sides remains stoic and unmoving, now that they are no longer regarded as people who matter, they now shout foul and demand action. So as we see the greedy idiots trying one more tantrum to get the WC away from Qatar, we need to see that the foundation of sports have become rotten and corrupt, the foundations are falling because the structure were never adhering to the reality of doing business. Merely a presentation from an outdated PowerPoint shows that what we saw and what we believe was never a reality. So as the media hides behind claims and allegations stating that the entire system is corrupt and sick, we might argue that the media has labelled themselves as healers seeing what is wrong whilst they are merely the hypochondriacs in this game; seeing and reporting on sickness whilst they have no medical degree or knowledge of the symptoms, or claiming to have the results but are unwilling to make them public. Hiding behind documents that never see the light of day, they proclaim exist, whilst not presenting the evidence, all whilst they herald politicians who in the same air and at that same moment present the acceptance of the ‘invoice of buildings’ that ended up being 100% more expensive as it was for the good of sports. Only after the fact, when the dust settles will some ask questions and do we see that people like Carlos Nuzman, guilty or not being towed away, that whilst questions were asked years before the event. With 5 large events coming up, with close to a trillion at stake, sponsors and stakeholders will not ask questions until targets are not met, or are close to being a risk of not making it. The media will remain on the foreground silent ‘awaiting‘ evidence, merely speculating at times, whilst shouting on behalf of others when those ‘friends’ (read: advertisers) have too much to lose. Greed driven media, this is exactly why people like Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens should be discontinued. In the end they are merely in it for the circulation at best and personal greed at worst.

We can all be stupid after the fact, which includes me. Yet when I am I will be in a state of ‘Wow, I so did not see that coming!‘ and I will to improve the way I see things, whilst the others are playing another iteration of ‘the next wave’ to fill their pockets. It sets me apart as I want improvements to a system that could be good and they merely want continuation of their luxurious way of life.

I still believe that certain players will push for the change of Qatar 2022. Yet after that, after it happens, when evidence lacked, we should demand their mandatory retirement from income and public life, and those sponsors should be barred from global sport sponsoring events forever. I wonder how many politicians will turn out to be a mere representation of cowardice at that point in time, trying to find some compromise that their way of life finds acceptable?

 

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Fear mongers cannot learn, will the reader?

The technology section of the Guardian had an interesting article (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/13/artificial-intelligence-ai-unemployment-jobs-moshe-vardi), ‘Would you bet against sex robots? AI ‘could leave half of world unemployed’‘, is that so? So, is the title a reference that 50% is in prostitution, or is there more?

The article starts straight of the bat without delay it gives the quote: “Machines could put more than half the world’s population out of a job in the next 30 years, according to a computer scientist who said on Saturday that artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy should not be understated“.

I remember a similar discussion now 35 years ago. It was 1981, I was working on the defence mainframe and I got the inside scoop how computers would replace people, how those machines would put hardworking people out of a job and a future. In the first 5 years that followed I saw the opposite, yes some work became easier, but that also meant that more work could be done. The decade that followed gave us an entire new region of technology. A region that would open doors that had never been there in the first place.

This technology is not any different, it will open up different doors.

Now, the people in ‘fear’ of it all are not the most half-baked individuals. They include Physicist Stephen Hawking and the tech billionaires Bill Gates and Elon Musk, in addition there is professor Vardi from Rice University, his statement “AI could drive global unemployment to 50%, wiping out middle-class jobs and exacerbating inequality“, I massively disagree here. The words of Elon Musk calling it “our biggest existential threat” and in addition professor Vardi stated “humanity will face an existential challenge“, those two comments are closer to the reality. Yet here too I believe changes will dominate. Consider a few years back, back to the time when I was younger then young (like 900BC roughly), in an age of Greek wars and utter ‘nationalism’ the Olympic truce was created. “Ekecheiria”, was established in Ancient Greece in the 9th century BC through the signing of a treaty by three kings: Iphitos of Elis, Cleosthenes of Pisa and Lycurgus of Sparta. (Source: olympic.org) There was a lull but in 1896 it started again. An event, which origin was to create an option to not be in a war and to compete. Of all the existential angst we have, robots should not be on the list any time soon.

My reasoning?

As we saw the start of recruitment for Mars, a serious recruitment to start colonising mars, we must admit that there are issues on mars, several could be diminished with the use of intelligent robots. Or perhaps the idea that NASA is looking on how to get resources from asteroids, so how about that Android solution? The BBC gives us the speculation on ocean living (at http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20131101-living-on-the-ocean), again an element where we do not thrive, but a robot could pave the way. In my own view, with the massive energy issues, how long until someone has the idea to place paddled wheels above a hydrothermal vent in the ocean to capture it as an energy source? Not the kind of work a person can do, a machine could, and an AI driven one could excel there. Just three places where we could end up with more and not less. Yet Vardi does give an interesting side, if robots replace people to some extent, that value of physicality might be lost. Now ask the bricklayer if he could do something else, would he? There is indeed the danger that physical labour becomes less and less appealing, yet that does not mean it will be gone. It would take at least half a century for things to be completed, whilst in that mean time new evolutions start, new challenges start.

More important, much more important is the one fact people tend to avoid out of fear. But you the reader, if you are over 45, consider that in the near future you will be dead! So will 3 out of 7 of your friends. Yes, the population is growing, yet the age groups are shifting, this implies that robots could be a solution for some of the work areas that do not require academic thinking. All these opportunities, not threats!

So as we see a new iteration of fear, is this version more valid than then the previous one? With that I mean the implementation of the PC. Perhaps having another set of less fear mongering eyes would help. The second part people forget is that fear mongering is also a drain on productivity here. Even as we speak Japan has a lead in this market, as does America. So how about we start getting ahead of the rest, so that is wrong with the commonwealth picking up a robotic skill or two, because one truth remains, once the other player get too much of a lead, the consequence will be that the followers are not considered for the creational jobs here and that is where the real mulah is, the IT explosion taught us that and that field grew a multitude of billionaires, the next technological iteration will do no less.

I am not alone in my way of thinking, the writer Nicholas Carr gives us: “human creativity and intuition in the face of complex problems is essentially irreplaceable, and an advantage over computers and their overly accurate reputation“, which is where the new future will head. Not to create robots, but the creativity to make then excel in extreme places where we could not comprehend until out boundaries are clearly mapped. So how is this news such an eyeopener? Well, when we get back to the beginning we saw “artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy“, as stated, much like the Personal Computer, it will not be a threat, but a solution, an opening into a new arm of the technology sector, even more important, this is not just a IT only field. It will require quality engineers and depending on the application of the scene. This means that we get new challenges, different ones mind you, but not lesser ones?

In that regard, depending on the implementation, it will require analysts, engineers, programmers and a few others on the list of adepts.

all these options and we did not even need to get close to the technological design of the new age cybernetic machines for the purpose of erotic exploration (level 1 at http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/04/sexbots-realdoll-sex-toys), which is nowhere near an AI experience, time will tell how real that field becomes. Consider the age of STD’s we see nowadays. Mycoplasma Genitalium might be the new ‘trend’, as it can be cured with a mere one week setting of anti-biotics. So how long until it evolves into something that does not cure? Yet we do not even have to go that far, consider all the areas where man (or woman) cannot function, the risk too high and the rewards become too low. Here comes the clockwork system (aka the AI robot) and we are back on track.

So I see the robot as a positive wave. For careers, for jobs, for business evolution and for evolving technology. We only need to see the light of creation and we will end up with a lot more options than we bargained for.

 

 

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The price of soccer

This is how I see the issues as we see the mountain of ‘complaints’ in regards to Qatar 2022. The first part is seen on the BBC site (a http://www.bbc.com/news/world-31605149). Richard Scudamore is very disappointed, which is fair enough. My issue is with his statement: ‘if the integrity of a football league has to stop for 6-7 weeks‘. Is that truly the case? The integrity of a league does not diminish when they are out playing their best for their nation in a world cup. It shows that these people, with multi million pound incomes can set it all aside to play their best for their nation. That is the simple truth of it all. So is this about FIFA, UEFA? Or is it because of advertisers? You see, those 6-7 weeks advertisers will move to the world cup, they go to where THEIR visibility lies. I think that this is a side that the football managers forgot about. When they spread the visibility of Soccer, getting more and more nations, they forgot that new members are every bit as eager to promote their national side and we can safely say that the middle east has plenty of money to invest in new stadiums.

Part of me is just a little amazed that both FIFA and its members did not see this coming. It is a sports event! In a places where for all kinds of environmental reasons, the Olympics cannot be held there, is it such a surprise that they want to show off their nation by hosting the soccer World Cup event? That what followed is still to be regarded as an episode of comedy capers, for those too young to remember, see the intro here (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjZMfRwsuOM), see the man at the back, that could be Martin Ivens, you remember the Sunday Times claiming to have seen all those ‘millions of documents‘ reported by Reuters on July 28th 2014? I mention parts of what was claimed in ‘Sacking the Editor?’ on November 14th 2014 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/11/14/sacking-the-editor/), it could be regarded as evidence on just how much a paper tiger Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is. As mentioned before, if we go by the words of IPSO “We uphold the highest standards of journalism by monitoring and maintaining the standards set out in the Editors’ Code of Practice” than they should also be pre-emptive. Especially when allegations of corruption are being made.

Was there corruption? That question remains a valid one, but when we see “FIFA report into alleged corruption clears Qatar to host 2022 World Cup” (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/nov/13/fifa-report-alleged-corruption-qatar-2022-world-cup), the mention by the Sunday Times give way to bring a forced publication of that evidence, or be hit for damages. None of that seems to have happened. In addition, we see this in The Star (at http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/2015/02/24/fifa-deserves-red-card-for-the-debacle-that-is-qatar-world-cup-arthur.html) “FIFA judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, who sits on FIFA’s ethics committee, reviewed the report and released a 42-page summary to the public that stated the report cleared FIFA in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively“.

I am not denying the facts that are, but no one seems to show evidence, which is crucial. You see, as stated before, I think this is for the larger part about something else. If we go back to the statement ‘if the integrity of a football league has to stop for 6 – 7 weeks’, is that so? How about taking a 7 week break and prolonging the season that one time? I think that these soccer players, who are making tens of thousands a week, can work an extra 8 weeks that one time. If it is about the advertisers, than it is just bad luck. You see, many people have had enough of ‘enabling’ advertisers to the max, and if this costs them a little extra this once, than live with it. It is NOT about the advertisers, it is about the sport and everyone is very adamant not to mention that ‘A’ word, or ‘sponsors’ for that matter. Is it all an inconvenience? Yes, I reckon that is the case and this is also the consequence of broadening the membership list of soccer playing nations, there is a consequence at some point. So, yes, I do agree that Qatar was never the best place, but guess what, they did the dance, they went through the motions and they got the gig! Now all others will have to program around this for once, I think that the fact, that this had been running since 1888, implies that the sport could use a little exception and a little flexibility.

This does not take away the issues that play at FIFA, there are a few issues with the Russian part, especially the ‘the Russians claimed that all e-mails relating to their bid had been wiped from the computers they used, which were rented’, I mentioned that in a previous blog too, because such levels of incompetence should not be allowed anywhere. Yet, the full report of Garcia was never given to the public at large, which gives us a few extra issues, but then, the Sunday Times under Martin Ivens blowed a lot of hot air, but then did not release any evidence of in any shape, size or form. It seems to me that this is not a good thing either.

If we accept the star with their quote “But FIFA is so powerful, so unaccountable, that the inartfulness of the lies doesn’t matter” as well as “FIFA pushes slush piles of money to federations all over the world in the form of development grants, and that secures the necessary votes to keep Blatter in power“, that we have a massive problem. You see, I have been (to some extent) on the side of Qatar, because there were allegations from many, but NO ONE presented actual evidence and all these events played like this was all about big business not getting their way. I have an issue with that! In my view, if you love soccer and it is your life, that that is fine, but when we see these pushes whilst an average soccer player gets per week what most people get per quarter, that we can agree that those people get to suck it up a little and not whinge or whine like little bitches when they suddenly get an ‘adjusted’ calendar once per 4 years, the fact that this now happens for the first time ever, they can just shut up and take it, so this once they get to experience what most workers endure on a yearly basis.

On the other side, if there is a level of unaccountability from FIFA, that it makes equal sense for ALL members of FIFA to break with FIFA and create something new, to which ALL members of FIFA are to be excluded for a few decades. See how that solves issues. The reality is that Qatar 2022 might be the only deviant event (compared to all other world cups) as a lesson for future FIFA events, in that case FIFA will have learned a lesson, but perhaps we learn another lesson too. Perhaps that environment will only fuel a global desire for soccer and in that light, premiere leagues of all nations will have to consider that once every four years there could be a different light in how that year the league is played. It might be refreshing in so many ways that it will, for some, rekindle the true love for soccer. Let’s not forget in those 6-7 weeks those players do not represent their team, they represent their nation, is that not a great thing? It should be!

In that light we should also see the response BBC sport had “The former Manchester United and Everton defender added that he would be “licking my lips” if he was England boss Roy Hodgson because “we’ll have the freshest ever national team going to a World Cup”” (at http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/31610300), you see, it is not all bad, I reckon that soon we will see similar responses from coaches and players in The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden.

Now consider the following quotes from the links used earlier: “The 2026 World Cup television rights in North America were awarded without a bid to Fox and Telemundo, who had complained about the Qatar schedule change, for which they hold the broadcast rights“, “Six European federations demanded Fifa clean up its act. Three top commercial backers, Coca-Cola, Adidas and McDonald’s, did so too” and “Of the 11 men who voted on 2018 and 2022 World Cups who are no longer on Fifa’s executive committee, only five provided answers to Garcia’s inquiry. Two could not be located at all“, it is clear that there are issues, especially when considering the part, ‘two could not be located at all’, is this for real? What, did that person go on a $600K cruise and there is no phone where these people are at (just one of a few options)? There is no question that there are issues on several sides, but there is still the matter of evidence, evidence that is either concealed or never found. The fact that the report was never released is also cause for concern, I do admit to that, but in law when we apply ‘is it more likely than not‘ can be just as easily applied to the large sponsors who see their return on invested revenue lessen to a small extent, taking into consideration that 2022 will be the first time (possibly the last time) that this happens brings for the question ‘why enable big business to this extent?‘ is a matter that is not and likely will not ever be answered, which is why, I currently remain on the side of Qatar. Sport is about the sport, whether it is local or nations playing, it is about the sport, not about the visibility of the sponsors. They get visibility because of sport, not the other way around. It is time big business learns that no matter what game they play, the sport itself remains untouchable, which also means that sometimes the game needs to be slightly more flexible. That part is also shown in regards to Fox and Telemundo, who complained about schedule change. Really? Complain now about an event 6 years away? If it is such an inconvenience, than give the 2022 rights to one of the free TV channels. I wonder how that channel will suddenly benefit from sponsors. If anything, this event shows me how corporate greed has been maximised within sports, an upsetting issue.

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The old reasons

There are a lot of high running tensions in play at present. There is the Gaza, which has been going on since I was there in 1982 and there is the downing of MH17, which is now becoming an increasingly political hot potato involving the Russians.

Yesterday, Nick Clegg called for stripping Russia from the world cup 2018 (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/27/nick-clegg-russia-world-cup-2018-stripped-mh17-ukraine). I do not think I can presently agree with this. Yes, there are issues that need to be answered, yet, there is enough evidence to clearly state that Russian separatists, not the Russian army shot the plane down. The last group might not be innocent, yet for this we need actual evidence, which is currently (for now) not available.

David Cameron seems to be in agreement with me (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/27/david-cameron-russia-2018-world-cup-ukraine).

In my case there is another reason. If we are to resolve any issues, then we need to make sure that diplomats get as many options as they can to smooth things over. In three years the issues of MH17 will have been passed, yet what lies around the corner? There is not a person in the world who can give us any answer in that regard, nor should they have to. If we want options, than we need to look no further than the Olympics, especially the ‘original’ ones (you know, the ones you might have seen in 776 BC).

In those days, there was an important side to these groups of people, who were always bickering with each other using swords and spears. It was stated “During the Olympic Games, a truce, or ekecheiria was observed. Three runners, known as spondophoroi were sent from Elis to the participant cities at each set of games to announce the beginning of the truce. During this period, armies were forbidden from entering Olympia, wars were suspended, and legal disputes and the use of the death penalty were forbidden“.

It was a stroke of genius! This was a time when certain officials could off the books meet and possibly broker solutions in a way where the ego and reputation of a person was not on the line. It was a time when some people could meet and possibly longer lasting truces could be held. Even today, when the emotions run high, we need to make certain that such an option remains.

This brings me to the second part in this, which is only casually linked. It was my blog of March 19th 2014 called ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘ where I looked at some of the issues regarding the accusation of corruption by Qatar in getting the World cup 2022. There were a few views that caused me to question whether there was actual corruption, or was this a push by big business to replace Qatar for revenue reasons? What is ‘more likely than not’ is the question in this case!

Last week the Guardian gave us additional information (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jul/21/ethics-investigation-private-fifa-michael-garcia), in the article, where it states: “Former attorney expected to deliver evidence by end of July“. It is now the end of July and we see the quote “Garcia’s report will go directly to FIFA’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckhart, who is not expected to make any rulings until August or September“, so there will; be another delay in finding out the truth.
Moreover, I feel at present that after that another delay will come as certain people could be offered high income positions in other places before the news comes out. Will that happen? I do not know, what I do know is that the allegations have gone on for way too long and the additional delays, whilst we see more and more press on this should anger us all beyond belief. Big Business made a try and as such they hopefully failed. Of course we will not know until the rulings are made, but I remain adamant in my view! I demand the disclosure of names and participants in these events. In addition, the quote “Shortly before the World Cup in Brazil, Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reported that some of the ‘millions of documents’ it had seen linked payments by former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam to officials to win backing for Qatar’s World Cup bid” (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/25/us-soccer-fifa-qatar-idUSKBN0FU1M720140725), I could not get the Sunday times link as people need to pay for it and it cannot be fully shown, yet the quote is seen at CNN (at http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/02/sport/football/football-qatar-world-cup-sunday-times/) which states: “We’ve seen millions of documents that prove without a shadow of doubt that corruption was involved. There is clear evidence linking payments to people who have influence over the decision of who hosted the World Cup“.
I think we should DEMAND the display of these documents. If there is corruption, we are entitled to see it, on the other hand, if we accept that it is more likely than not that an industry that misses out on millions of dollars are behind the accusations, then we are allowed to see that as well. In that regard, if the Royal commission would prefer not to be the laughing stock regarding the press, then in my view, it should have only one response to the quote from the Sunday Times, when it is proven wrong. The Sunday Times is to cease all operations for no less than 6 months, all staff to be paid during this time, no online activities and no revenue based activities. Subscribers get an automatic 6 months extension.

Is that too harsh?

The claims here, the claims in regards to MH-370 that were made by the Telegraph, none of it founded and no actual evidence ever presented.

Why is this such a big deal?

As the Olympics evolved, the base need for honest and open competition is what allows for differences to be settled. The concept of the Olympics was also continued in other events, like the World Cup Soccer and the Commonwealth Games. These events go beyond the events on the field. It allows for trade discussions, diplomacy and other conversations that have larger impact, in some cases none of them an option in an official capacity. This is why I disagree with Nick Clegg on this.

Even now, I have been adamant about the need for President Vladimir Putin to speak out harshly against these separatists since the first day it happened. It is likely that he relied on the wrong advisers (as I see it), but to cut off options of diplomacy is NEVER EVER a good idea. Even now, we see news (at http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/07/27/vladimir-putin-facing-multi-million-dollar-lawsuit-for-aiding-separatists-who-shot-down-mh17-lawyers-say/) where the headline “Vladimir Putin facing multi-million dollar lawsuit for aiding separatists who shot down MH17, lawyers say“.

How is this even realistic?

Is there ACTUAL evidence that Putin did directly support in the act that resulted in the downing of MH17? Yes, I agree there are issues with the hardware the separatists have and I mentioned that the first day, whilst the press were all about the ’emotional stories’ (which is not journalistic out of place). The facts are there and they need to be answered, but that lawsuit is a joke. Consider the fact that Osama Bin Laden was a product of the CIA, trained to some extend and funded to a larger extent. Was President George W. Bush, Senator Charles Wilson or many others ever sued for 9/11? Both premises are equally ridiculous. I see them all as meagre attempts from certain individuals to claim income and/or visibility from where ever they can.

So, why this switch?

If any of these issues are to ever be resolved we need to keep one open path, one path no one messes with to remain. We need sports to remain to be about sports, so that those attending (not those who participate), to divert the conversation to non-sport matters. If we can keep peace through an innocent informal conversation, then by all means let us do that. Preferably without a group of bloody Murdoch’s miscreants making claims without producing the actual evidence trying to divert games towards a better ‘big business’ marketable environment. My reasoning here is twofold. First the quote as “We’ve seen millions of documents that prove without a shadow of doubt that corruption was involved”. Were these people really that stupid? The one true rule here is that if it isn’t written down, it does not exist, would people state ‘in writing’ such events (people who should be a lot more intelligent than I am), or is it just a bluff? You see, evidence (or not) did the press not have clear, distinct and utter responsibility to produce and print this evidence? The people who have been hiding behind every sleaze report with pictures stating ‘the people have a right to know’, now suddenly they hide behind innuendo and silence? That is part of the picture I have a problem with.

The old reasons are now clearly in focus.

Sport should be about sport and sport alone. The people in the field are all about that what they excel in and as such, it might be the only true entertaining excitement left to us. This atmosphere will always allow for officials who are admiring their team. What was more endearing, more powerful and more sportive then seeing the Royal Dutch family amongst the Dutch, all in Orange, cheering for their team! What a massive adrenaline jolt it must have been for those players to hear their own royal family cheer for them! Is anything more amazing in sports? Is there a chance that his royal highness, King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands shook hands with an official from another nation, perhaps starting a conversation? The fact that Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin were there for the match and had a conversation can only be a good thing for all kinds of reasons in the long run.
We seem to forget these old reasons. We get the sports, but foremost, we get the commercials and we get clobbered to death by sponsors with their trinkets, foods and drinks. That last part is the part too many are catering to. The bringers of news (especially in paper forms) are at least one third advertisements. Income is dwindling here and papers are more and more about keeping their (possible) advertisers happy. Even though these politicians can hold talks anywhere, allowing them to hold onto as many as informal places as possible is a given need. So, as such, for now, I feel that Moscow 2018 should continue.

If not, then Moscow should have never won the bid in the first place.

 

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