2006 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ | Iran, sex, security and bad taste

Link to article in Der SpiegelGerman newsweekly Der Spiegel comments on expansion of World Cup hype machinery since the nation last hosted the event in 1974. To foreign viewers, the signs were evident during the telecast of the draw (see Dec 14), an indication that Americans do not have a monopoly on bad taste. Wolfgang Niersback, vice-president of the organizing committee, acknowledges that “we could just as easily have held the final draw in my office, but that probably wouldn’t have been what the public wants to see.” Thirty-two years ago, Der Spiegel writes, the show was 45 minutes, compared to 150 last month. Franz Beckenbauer wore white socks with his suit. A bulletin board displayed country names. Der Spiegel‘s observations also fall hard on the “smooth and polished face of FIFA.” “FIFA’s employees,” writes Juergen Dahlkamp, “look more like they work at the stock exchange than for world soccer’s governing body. Nowadays, FIFA—complete with its army of lawyers, marketing experts and PR specialists—sells soccer the way others sell microchips or automobiles.” The deadly seriousness with which politicians are taking the event appears in the debate over whether, in seeming violation of the German constitution, the army should handle security for the World Cup. German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble advocates tasking the army with relief of police forces for the month-long finals. The 1949 constitution, however, mandates strict separation between army and police to avoid any hints of a militarized state.

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