Soccer World Cup vs. Cultural Capital

CC-by-sa & dilemma

Where would you like to travel in 2014: to the soccer world championship in Brazil or to the cultural capital Riga in Latvia? Anyway: did you know that Riga is the cultural capital in 2014?

Some countries really spend much money to promote top class sports events, as for example the soccer championships,. But waht does it really mean to the country and the inhabitants? Isn’t there another way to promote a country and to attract visitors? In the European Union we have a cultural initiative since 1985, promotimng cultural capitals. But as every brand, also the cultural capitals need to be promoted. Or should this money be invested towards other things at all?

Most of us know that the soccer world championship starts at the 12th of June 2014 and is hold in Brazil. In advance, newspapers were full of negative reporting: protests, casualties and murder. The demonstrations against this event, corruption, social injustice, increase of the local traffic prices and police violence are the biggest since the 1980s1. One of the paroles was: “championship for the rich ones, waste for the poor ones.” 2 In fact splendid stadiums were built and are equipped with expensive high quality technologies and the people around don’t get anything out of that. Current estimations assume the costs of this event about eleven billions, mostly paid by the state Brazil.3 With that amount of money could be done a lot of promotion for the country in another way and furthermore the money could be used for the Brazilian people.

Therefore I asked two exchange students at the FH Vorarlberg from Costa Rica what they think about the soccer World Cup in Brazil: “I believe that the Government should care after the wellbeing of the inhabitants of Brazil and right now it's more concerned about how it looks to the world and how to attract tourists. Sport activities are really noticeable and will undoubtedly make Brazil earn a lot of money but finally this income will not go to help fight the big issues that the nation is dealing with.“ Verónica A.
“A lot of people have been removed from the streets to try and make Brazil look like a really neat and wealthy place but this only covers up the real situation of the country. Being a host of the World Cup is a national pride, especially for Brazil and has created a lot of work opportunities for people in many different work areas, however, some human rights might have been restricted by the government in order to prepare the nation for the event and the huge amount of visitors that will arrive during the month of games.” Antonio S.

Even harder is the questionability about the soccer world cup 2022 in Qatar. Startling news on the websites already today: Until the kickoff buildings in a ratable value of 184 billions will arise. Stadiums, rails, shopping malls and skyscrapers will be newly constructed, where building groups from China, Saudi-Arabia and Europe will earn and in the meantime 4.000 workers will die in Qatar.4 This facts are terrifying. Even more the athletic aspect is more than suspect too: playing soccer at 50 degrees? The FIFA considers delaying the games from the summer months to the winter months.5 And so one is bound to wonder of the reasonableness of organizing such an event at the Persian Gulf. The latest news from the British newspaper The Telegraph reports: “The 2022 World Cup was bought. Of this there can now be no doubt.” 6 Accusations and suspicion of corruption jeopardize the World Cup in Qatar. Joseph S. Blatter, the Fifa president, made already made a confession of guilty: “Awarding 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a mistake.” 7

There are several reasons why I have chosen this topic as ethical dilemma situation: First I often wonder about the costs of big sport events and where the money comes from to pay only for example the players or the drivers and also to build the stadiums or race courses. In reality it’s a cheek, because with this money so many important things to improve the lives of the ones who suffer could be done. And also the sports could still exist with less money. The big sport events always are promoted with economy boosts but than only the rich ones get richer and the poor ones don’t get anything out of it. And as mentioned before to promote a country maybe there are several other ways to do that, when they get improved and expanded like the European cultural capitals.

written by Carina G.



1 Wikipedia (n.y.): Proteste in Brasilien 2013. Online:
(access: 27.05.2014)

2 Spiegel Online (2014): Proteste gegen Fußball-WM eskalieren. Online: (access: 27.05.2014)

3 GMX Österreich (2014): WM 2014: Das kostet die Weltmeisterschaft in Brasilien. Online: (access: 28.05.2014)

4 (2013): Katar baut für die Fussball-WM. Online: (access: 28.05.2014)

5 Die Welt (2014): Wieso wird Katar die WM nicht entzogen? Online: (access: 28.05.2014)

6 The Telegraph (2014): Fifa need to revote for 2022 World Cup after Qatar corruption allegations or fans will lose faith in sport Online: (access: 02.06.2014)

7 The Telegraph (2014): Fifa need to revote for 2022 World Cup after Qatar corruption allegations or fans will lose faith in sport Online: (access: 02.06.2014)