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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - FIFA and the World Cup (HBO)

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I would like to talk to you about 'the sausage principle'. The theory that says 'if you love something, never find out how it was made'. Well, tonight, I would like to show you my sausage. This is my sausage. The 2014 FIFA World Cup Ok, the World Cup starts this week. And I am both excited and extremely conflicted about it. Now I know, in America, soccer is something you pick your 10-year-old daughter up from. But for me and everyone else on Earth, it's a little more important. Soccer had become Brazil's religion. In Columbia, soccer was a religion. Football is a religion here. Soccer, or football like we say, is a religion. Yeah, and they're not exaggerating. When David Beckham got a tattoo of Jesus, the response of most soccer fans was 'Wow, that's huge for Jesus!' 'That's a big deal for him.' Here's my conflict. The World Cup is one of my favourite things. But it's organized by these guys. FIFA. You even know it as the Fédération Internationale de Football Association... ...or, that soccer video game you have. But for American viewers who may never have encountered them, FIFA is a comically grotesque organization. In fact, telling someone about the inner workings of FIFA for the first time is a bit like showing someone '2 girls, 1 cup'. You do it mainly so you can watch the horrified expression on people's faces. Because let's start where FIFA's current World Cup is about to take place: Brazil. Brazilians are excited about everything. This is how they celebrate the fact that it's just about to be lent. They love the concept of giving up chocolate temporarily. They're also the biggest soccer fans on Earth. So they must be thrilled at the prospect of hosting the World Cup. There's been months of unrest in some of the city's favellas, or slums, with clashes between police and residents. Here, people demonstrated against Brazil holding the World Cup. That makes no sense. Why would you be unhappy hosting the thing that you love the most in all the world? The government has spent more than 11 billion dollars getting ready. The United States team will play its second game here, in the city of Manaus, in this brand-new 270 million dollars stadium. Manaus is so remote, that it's almost impossible to reach by car. Which is why officials had to have the stadium materials brought in by boat. Shipped across the Atlantic from Portugal, and up the Amazon river. Okay, that does seem like a waste of money. Especially when you consider that that stadium is only going to be used for four World Cup games. There is also no team in Manaus that can fill it afterwards, at which point it becomes the world's most expensive bird toilet. No wonder Brazilians are so upset, especially when you think about what they are actually getting in return. Well, and they're gonna make money as well, as the money they're spending. Actually, FIFA makes the money. This is where the controversy is. The country usually doesn't make money. FIFA, the organization of the World Cup, is who makes the money. Brazil, let me put this in terms you might understand. Think of money as pubic hair, and FIFA as wax. Oh, they're gonna be all over you during the World Cup. But when they go, they're taking all the money with them, including some from places you didn't know you had any money. Leaving you teary-eyed, going 'Jesus, what happened here?' 'What happened? I'm never doing this again.' Because here are FIFA's tax demands for prospective host countries. It is FIFA and its FIFA subsidiaries that are fully exempt from any tax whatsoever laved, at whatever level: state level, municipality level. All sorts of taxes: consumption taxes, income taxes, you name it. It's all exempt. That's right. By Brazil's own estimates, they're allowing FIFA to forego 250 million dollars, in taxes. Somewhere, Wesley Snipes is going 'So soccer was the answer'. 'Oh, God... it seems so obvious now.' Now, FIFA says they leave a lot behind, which they do. Like new laws. Because, you see, once upon a time, Brazil did this. In 2003, the Brazilian government banned alcohol from stadiums, because of the enormously high death-rate amongst fans. Well that seems like a good idea. Potentially life-saving, even. The only problem is Budweiser is one of FIFA's key sponsors. And they sell a product they reflexively insist on calling 'beer'. And FIFA seemed anxious to protect Budweiser from a law designed to protect people. Which is why FIFA's secretary general went to Brazil with a simple message. I'm sorry to say, and maybe I look a bit arrogant, but that's something we will not negotiate. I mean, there will be and there must be as part of the law the fact that we have the right to sell beer. Maybe I look a bit arrogant, but... how you say... ... [email protected]#k your laws and your public safety. Is that right? And the amazing thing is here FIFA won. They successfully pressured Brazil into passing a so-called 'Budweiser bill', allowing beer sales in soccer stadiums. And at this point, you can either be horrified by that, or relieved that FIFA wasn't also sponsored by cocaine and chainsaws. Brazil is lucky. At least they just had FIFA force alcohol on them. When South Africa hosted the World Cup four years ago, FIFA forced the creation of the FIFA World Cup Courts, which sound fun. It's like going to the World Series and being dragged in front of judge Phillie Phanatic. Except FIFA's courts were no joke. Two Zimbabweans who robbed foreign journalists on a Wednesday were arrested on a Thursday and began 15-year jail sentences the next day. That is unsettlingly fast. That's like when you order Chinese food and it comes five minutes later. Thanks very much, but that was too quick. You didn't have time to make this properly. And there is a certain irony in FIFA setting up any kind of justice system, given the scandals that have dogged it over the years. Football's governing body has tried to tackle its shady inner workings by suspending two executives on corruption charges. The FIFA scandal rumbles on. Jack Warner, who was at the center of bribery accusations, has resigned as vice-president. There's been so many corruption scandals that FIFA have had to deal with. Bribery and FIFA go together like peanut butter and jelly. But they shouldn't, though. Peanut butter and jelly are supposed to go together. FIFA and bribery should go together like peanut butter and a child with a deadly nut allergy. No, Devon, no ! It's for your brother ! And if you think FIFA can't get anymore cartoonishly evil, this is their headquarters' actual board room. That's right. FIFA apparently modelled where they meet on the War Room from Doctor Strangelove. That is exhibit A for an organization that does not give a shit what you think about them. And yet, the head of FIFA maintains they are merely a humble, non-profit organization. We are a non-profit organization, and we have to remain a non-profit organization. A non-profit with over a billion dollars in the bank. Yeah, but this is a reserve. A reserve? A reserve of a billion dollars. When your rainy day fund is so big, you have to check it for swimming cartoon ducks. You might not be a non-profit anymore. That man, the man you just saw, is Sepp Blatter. And even his name should have been a red flag. If your name is Sepp, at the bare minimum, you've strangled someone in a bar fight. That's just a fact. And let me just give you a taste of Sepp Blatter as a human being. Recently, he was asked how should women soccer be made more popular. He said 'well, they should wear shorter shorts'. Great idea. Put the ladies in hot pants, call it Foxxy Soccer, and, while you're at it, tighten up the jerseys, maybe replace the ball with a plate of hot wings and fuck it, let's just open a Hooters. FIFA, the humble non-profit, even recently spent 27 million dollars to fund United Passions, a fictionalized version of their history, starring, for some reason, Tim Roth as Sepp Blatter. And this movie, like FIFA itself, looks terrible. We'll be the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. FIFA. The first World Cup will be held in... Uruguay ! You have everything you need to run our family. But you know, the slightest error, and you're out. Who makes a sports film where the heroes are the executives? And the crazy thing is you don't need two hours and Tim Roth, because the gratest film about Sepp Blatter has already been made. It's ten seconds long, and it's on YouTube. That is the on time you can genuinely say 'I'm glad that old man fell off that stage'. But perhaps the worst part of FIFA is not even its past or its present, it's its future. Because the host of the 2022 World Cup has already been decided. The winner to organize the 2022 FIFA World Cup is... Qatar ! Qatar? There's between one and fifty reasons why that is an awful idea. Summer temperatures in Qatar can reach some 50 degrees Celsius, a difficult environment to hold a professional sport event outdoors. 50 degrees Celsius is 122 degrees Fahrenheit. You are hosting the World Cup somewhere where soccer cannot phisically be played. That's like if the NFL chose to host the Super Bowl in a lake. Now there are known allegations that some FIFA executives took bribes to put the World Cup in Qatar, and I hope that's true. Because, otherwise, it makes literally no sense. And not just because of the weather, but because of the working conditions. Qatar is a slave state in the 21st century. A migrant worker can't leave the country without an exit visa. That visa has to be approved by his employer. - Who has you passport? - My passport is in the Main Office. - So you're trapped here. - Yes. We've got coffins coming home every day. More than a worker per day on average is dying. Conservatively, from the figures of just two countries, India and Nepal, more than four thousand workers will die before a ball is kicked off in 2022. So what you're essentially saying is the Qatar World Cup is shaping up to be the most deadly Middle East construction project since this one. And by this point, I hope I've proven to you that FIFA is just appauling. And yet, here's their power. I am still so excited about the World Cup next week. And it's very hard to justify how I can get so much joy from an organization that's caused so much pain. Other than going back to right where we started. Soccer, or football like we say, is a religion. But it's not just that. It's an organized religion, and FIFA is it's church. Just think about it. Its leader is infallible, it compels South American countries to spend money they don't have building opulent chatedrals, and it may ultimately be responsible for the deaths of shocking numbers of people in the Middle East. But for millions of people around the world, like me, it is also the guardian of the only thing that gives their lives any meaning. And if that comparison doesn't make Americans love soccer, then frankly nothing will.

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Duration: 13 minutes and 13 seconds
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Posted by: sebi on May 7, 2016

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver- FIFA and the World Cup (HBO)

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