Monday, February 17, 2014

Fifa should invest more in Singapore football

Feb 17, 2014

IT APPEARS that, just as in 2010, Fifa wants a lot more money from Singapore for the right to broadcast the upcoming World Cup in Brazil ("Broadcast rights not yet secured in Singapore"; last Friday).

When he was in Singapore in 2010, Fifa president Sepp Blatter was asked by a journalist about the issue. He stated that he was not aware of it but would look into it.

I was naive to think that the situation would not be repeated.

Fifa reportedly spends a lot of money promoting football in many countries, especially on the African continent. It correctly views football as a force for change.

The results speak for themselves. Many African players play in the European leagues. The money Fifa poured into African football has brought great success for African players, their countries and the continent.

That begs the question: How much money does Fifa spend promoting football in Singapore?

The local league has not been a success story; football is not viewed by many as a proper career, and passions get aroused only for "derby" games between Singapore and Malaysia.

The only time I have witnessed football as a powerful unifying force in Singapore was at the U-16 tournament during the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

Singapore should not be a net provider of funds to Fifa. If there was ever a country in need of Fifa investment and support to build up the sport, it is Singapore.

Peter Wadeley

[Short Comment: First World Problem.

Long Comment: Yes, football is a force for change... but it is not a force for changing EVERYTHING. What are the problems of Singapore? The MRT keeps breaking down and is unreliable. Football to the Rescue! Housing prices are going through the roof. Football to the Rescue! Income disparity! Football to the Rescue!

In Africa, football is a way for talented players to escape poverty, it gives hope to children who can hope for little else, it can provide a dream for millions of children. So how many African players make it to Europe? hundreds? Thousands? Tens of Thousands? A million?

How many fail to make it? Millions?

Football is a force for change, when your country is so poor, so badly run, so disorganised, so underdeveloped, so corrupt, that your only way out is being good at football, and getting out of poverty trap you call home.

In Singapore, there are easier ways to get ahead. And parents do not encourage their children to get ahead by being good at football. Well, few parents do.

FIFA promote football in Singapore? 5 million of us? 1.5m foreigners with no leisure to watch or play football. And they mostly play cricket if they have a chance.

Yes. The letter is obviously asking for FIFA to give SG a cheap deal.]

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