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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #238 - Patrick Vassort sociologist: "In Sochi, the IOC has silenced all opposition inclination" (fr, pt) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 12 May 2014 17:29:07 +0300


Patrick Vassort back on recent Olympics in Sochi, but also on the next FIFA World Cup in Brazil, to clarify the issues that lie behind these competitions for Heads of State and world sports organizations. ---- What were the objectives of Putin with his applications for the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 2018? ---- Regarding domestic politics, it seems at first that the Olympics have allowed him to sit a little further its dominance over the opposition and enrich his family. Do not they say that for the preparation of the Olympic Games, he awarded the contracts for the construction of roads and one of his friends would have charged the highway km EUR 117 million, ten times more than the normal? The same cost of the Games is doubtful. Of the 37 billion announced it is likely that much has been diverted. Conditions granted to workers on construction sites were disastrous. About 60 000 workers were able to work simultaneously. They were underpaid and sometimes unpaid, without a contract, without safety standards. Some workers have even been hired to work 12 hours a day, with one day off every two weeks, paid 1.50 euros per hour. At this rate, companies quickly for big profits.

The organization of these Games in the Caucasus was also an opportunity to put pressure on people who traditionally oppose Putin in power. For these Games, the latter grabbed a region which, until now, was protected because she welcomed the oldest forest in Europe; now it is projected to build five ski resorts luxury, so the gradual arrival of a new bourgeoisie. On the geostrategic level, while Europe raved about the beauty of the sport, Putin was preparing his speech in Ukraine. The IOC on its side, and in accordance with the Olympic Charter, has silenced any hint of opposition. In Sochi, no speech of opposition was heard, no sign of protest was visible. And Jean-Claude Killy believes even now attending the Games that are among the finest in history. But as stated by stupidity or incompetence Valérie Foureyron, French Sports Minister: "The Games are not a political platform or a space to resolve diplomatic disputes". Putin clearly understood that.

Can we say that these goals have been achieved despite the controversies, including homophobic law?

Certainly there has been some controversy, but what do they represent the face of snakes swallowed by those who defend human rights? Homophobic laws were they missing? The far-right racist militia were they arrested? Psychiatrization opponents as the finest hour of Stalinism, she has ceased? Said on "foreign agents" law to control NGO she was repealed? Freedom of the press and expression are increased? To all these questions, the answer is negative. This means that the theory which suggests that the organization of an international sporting event opens on more democracy is totally false. We obviously noticed this a long time and recently, particularly about the Beijing Olympics. Putin's success is total.

What are the interests of the IOC or FIFA?

Neither the IOC or FIFA are democratic institutions. We could of course remember the twilight period of the 1930s and 1940s when organizations of major international events were entrusted to Italy (CM 1934), Germany (1936 OJ 1942 CM), Japan (1940 JO). However Organizations 2008 Beijing Games Sochi 2014 or 2022 World Cup to Qatar, for example, are no more glorious. What are the reasons that govern such decisions? No doubt they are many and they are common to these political regimes and these two institutions: economic interests, malpractice or corruption, placed in the right of people, interests undemocratic policies, aid to private companies, ownership of the public space, etc.. Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary General, said there was little: "I'll say something crazy, but a lower level of democracy is sometimes better to organize a World Cup"[1]. And to legitimize the choice of the federation, he insists: "When a strong man at the head of a State may, as perhaps can do Putin in 2018, it is easier for us organizers with a country like Germany where you have to negotiate on many levels ". What will the Fifa after the Ukrainian crisis? Nothing! Putin let it host the FIFA World Cup 2018 should be already boycott. 's World Cup soccer in Brazil and one in Qatar already been challenged (Pharaonic expenditures, working conditions on yards...). How does Fifa?

Fifa once again mocks it. What matters is the opportunity to organize a competition without opposition and may fill its coffers. At the 2010 World Cup, FIFA made a profit of nearly one billion euros. For Brazil it is far beyond what billion. As for Qatar... So the dogs bark but the caravan moves on and reiterated Blatter, President of FIFA, "football is stronger than the dissatisfaction of the people" , at least it is the capitalist ideal of strategic unit organization of the least acceptable dominations.

What is generally the impact of a big competition of its kind in the country receiving?

Generally it is an impoverishment of local as well as a long-term debt communities. Montreal has 30 years to repay the Olympics 1976. Greece must now suffer the torments of the 2004 Games as the economic impact was largely negative and has led the country into a dangerous economic spiral. Only sports institutions and major partners of these companies are winning events. In 1998, for example, the cities of Toulouse and Saint-Etienne found themselves in trouble after the organization of the World Cup to the point of not being able to organize the music festival. We are therefore faced with a fantasy which public space suffers the consequences[2].


[1] leparisien.fr, April 25, 2013.

[2] See "Olympics: bend populations", interview with Patrick Vassort in AL No. 219, Summer 2012.
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