Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Threat of WM2018?

After this aircraft shoot down by Russian separatists in Ukraine....there's talk of the necessity of punishing Russia....for it's participation in the whole matter.  Yesterday, it came out in various German press pieces the idea of just junking the 2018 World Cup games....which were to be held in Russia.

Roughly four years ago....FIFA (the organization that control the World Cup games) gifted the games to Russia.  There's prestige and tourism which come out of this deal for Russia.  You can figure at least 200,000 people would travel into Russia to be a part of the episode.

Taking the games away?  FIFA would have to make the decision, and by my humble opinion....there's zero chance that FIFA would do this.  First, there's the matter of the contract, and how you'd break it.  A legal battle would occur, and FIFA would go bankrupt.  Added to the problem is that FIFA's entire existence is tied to profits from the TV contracts.

So I see zero chance of FIFA standing up to make some courageous point.  The likely scenario?

Well....by January of next year, I'd expect the Dutch national team to meet quietly....vote, and just say that they won't participate.  Nothing personal.....it just won't happen and they won't bother scheduling their calendar for the event.  TV contract participation in the Netherlands?  Zero.  I don't think the state networks or the commercial networks will bid to show the games in the Netherlands.

Australia will be the second nation....meeting and conducting the same vote....same results.  By summer of 2015, Finland....Denmark....Sweden....and Norway go the same route.

Belgium meets and finds that half of the four-star players will refuse to participate in the games....and they settle to the idea of just not coming out for game seither.

Then you start to get into some interesting episodes.  France, Italy and Spain meet and half their star players decline to play along, but the these three decide to participate anyway.  Naturally, the TV contracts are somewhat less because there's talk that people will refuse to watch.

Germany will find several of their national players refuse to participate....but the team goes on with half the starters being three-star type players.

FIFA is standing there with minimum participation in Europe, and almost normal participation in South America.

The results?  The stadiums are barely half-full for any of the games.  Scalping of tickets just doesn't occur, with people losing vast amounts of money.  FIFA loses on TV revenue.  Russia is bitter over the cost and non-generation of profit.  The final four?  Brazil  and Argentina with all-star squads, Serbia, and Russia.  Zero interest in Europe over the game or its outcome.  The US might actually make it into the final eight participants.

FIFA can just play along and drag this out.  Russia can continue planning this and safely knowing that the games will occur.  It's just that things aren't worth much.....if the World Cup games are a collection of three-star players.

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