Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 June 2014

World Cup carnival cannot hide corruption and social injustice

Tom Baldwin

It is impossible not to notice that the World Cup has begun. While it may send some people scurrying for the TV remote, billions of football fans across the globe have been looking forward to one of the world's greatest sporting tournaments.

It is estimated that nearly half the world's population will tune in at some point to watch the best players clash in Brazil. Sadly though, the World Cup has revealed once again how corruption and profiteering have tainted the beautiful game.

Football is not just a passion for millions, it's big business. It is expected that $1 billion will be bet on every match at the World Cup. With the drive for profit, corruption follows close behind and the interests of fans and workers fall by the wayside.

Emails uncovered by the Sunday Times add weight to widespread allegations of corruption in Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Mohammed Bin Hammam is a former vice-president of Fifa, football's world governing body, but was forced to step down over separate corruption claims. Qatar denies Bin Hammam had anything to do with the bid but recent emails appear to show he spent 3 million bribing other officials to win their backing. There is now growing pressure for the process to be re-run, with several big corporate sponsors voicing concerns.

Many fans questioned the decision to hold the tournament in Qatar where heat could force it to be played in December, not June. But the effect of heat is not only a concern for the footballers. Migrant workers building infrastructure in conditions of virtual slavery were dying at a rate of one a day last summer. Qatar is an autocratic monarchy with an appalling record on workers' rights.

Whose interests?

None of these problems are unique to Qatar. Brazil is famously football-mad but the World Cup has been the focus of enormous opposition movements as the rights of ordinary people have been steamrollered in the interests of big-business developers and sponsors.

Billions of dollars have been spent on new stadiums, workers have been forced out and property prices and rents have skyrocketed.

In response to this, the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) has led huge demonstrations. 4,000 families are occupying land close to a stadium in Sao Paulo, referring to their actions as 'the People's Cup' and demanding that housing be built.

The Socialist Party's sister organisation in Brazil, LSR, is playing a leading role in developing this struggle along with the teachers' strike in Rio de Janeiro.

Public transport is another big issue there. Last year a mass movement successfully pushed back proposed fare hikes but the government's neoliberal programme of privatisations has continued. Metro workers in Sao Paulo have taken strike action (currently suspended, pending negotiations) over pay, despite police repression including the use of tear gas.

Many fans will see the excitement of the World Cup as a bit of escapism from their day-to-day problems. But like every aspect of workers' lives under capitalism, football is also damaged by the continual drive for profit. It used to be seen as a working class sport but now many ordinary fans are priced out while billionaire owners treat clubs as their plaything. Wherever sport becomes big business, corruption has reared its ugly head from athletics to rugby.

Football and all sports should be run by and for the fans, not by unaccountable bodies like Fifa acting in the interests of big business.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 11 June 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS: Private profit kills

Newark byelection: capitalist parties in crisis

'Trojan Horse': who is attacking education?

World Cup carnival can't hide corruption and injustice

Them & Us


Tiananmen Square 1989

The battle of Orgreave

International socialist news and analysis

Spain: European elections redefine political map

Greece: CWI councillors elected

Socialist Party workplace news

10 July: United action can beat austerity

Bakers' union calls for general strike

Unison: No waiting for Labour - fight the job cuts

Housing workers strike against rep suspension

Firefighters to walk out for 24-hours

Care UK workers continue dispute

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Now is the time to join the Socialists!

Why I'm a socialist

Stevenage: EDL not welcome here

Cuts consensus: Labour joins with Ukip to back Tory council

Readers' comments and reviews

Ken Loach's Jimmy's Hall

Obituary: George Duff


Home   |   The Socialist 11 June 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleGateshead FC crisis: save our Heed!

triangleReclaim the Game book launch

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleThe Socialist inbox


triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleBarclays finally charged for having hands in till

triangleSyria: Western governments' interventionist strategy in tatters

triangleFifa scandals - a rottenness based on corporate greed


triangleWirral Socialist Party: Brazil - Bolsanaro and the rise of the far right

triangleBrazil: The Threats, attacks and contradictions of Bolsonaro's regime

triangleBrazil: Hundreds die in avoidable dam collapse

Big business:

triangleTens of thousands march

triangleBritish Steel threatened closure

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Socialist Party conference reaffirms the CWI's historic approach


General election

Stop Boris - General election now


Them & Us

Them & Us


Universal Credit

Fraudsters thrive and claimants suffer in despicable Universal Credit scam



The landowning establishment



Nationalisation is answer to Southern Water cover up



Sinister moves against Corbyn can be beaten by clear socialist policies


What we saw

What we saw


Them & Us

Them & Us



Even social-care bosses say cuts have gone too far



Gig-economy exploitation doubles



Same old millionaire Tories - Fight to kick them out



What now for Brexit?



Unsafe, unaffordable housing scandal


Universal Credit

Universal Credit forces women into prostitution

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019