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opinion

AFR: The AFR Team has its say on the curious cases of Qatar & Russia: Neoliberalism at its finest?

A Football Report: The AFR team is sharing its diverse perspectives on the drama that unfolded yesterday in Switzerland in a series of posts throughout the next day or so. The series features perspectives from our writers who call places like Montreal, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, London, Manilla, Boston, and Lisbon home. We continue with the perspective of Soraya Soemadiredja, a recent graduate of the University of Toronto now living in Manila. She didn’t hold back. Enjoy.

Russia and Qatar? “YES! FIFA proves once again they’re all about the money!” And, more specifically: “Are you surprised your general culture of neo-liberalism has destroyed your own shot of hosting a World Cup in favour of two countries about which you westerners have unjustified and generally unfair stereotypes and generalisations?”*

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AFR: The Final Push: 2022 Edition

A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja, Manila

Despite several allegations of corruption and breaches of ethics, there are now less than 8 hours left for the bidding nations to convince FIFA to give them the ball to host the World Cup. So yesterday, the 2022 World Cup bidding nations presented their final push for the position and as we write/you read, the 2018 World Cup bidding nations will make their last arguments before the Executive Committee will vote. All 22 (24 committee members, minus the two who were suspended) of them then will vote, whereby a successful host nation should get at least 12 of these votes.

So we’ll go through the 2022 World Cup bids first, in case it has slipped your mind between all the other really important world events. It will from here on be dubbed the “Asia or Pacific Ocean bids”, viewed through the eyes of the easily distracted. (Seriously, for such an exciting event, the lead up to who gets to host it is really. Very. Dull.)

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AFR: FIFA bans six officals for ethics breaches but leaves one notorious man in place

A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja, Manila

FIFA’s Ethics Committee banned six football officials from football for breaching various articles of the organisation’s Code of Ethics but it remains to be seen just how much this action will affect the day to day practises of FIFA, one of the most notoriously unaccountable and the least transparent of international institutions.

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AFR: Indonesia’s football woes, when government and sport collide

Indonesian football fans watching Indonesia play Uruguay

Indonesian football fans watching Indonesia play Uruguay

A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja, writing from Jakarta

The play by play of the recent friendly between Indonesia and Uruguay mirrors the conditions of which the Indonesian fans have been subject at the international level for their national side. They started out enthusiastic, strong and willing to commit, even managing to score first. But with every attack on their goal, be it a poor result by the national team or corruption, the more disenchanted they become. Fatigue sets in from dealing with politicians taking advantage of the most popular sport. Then the unravelling,  opposition hammering at their net without defence from an adequate development system.

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AFR: ESPN: Female athletes often targets for rape

A Football Report: By Soraya Soemadiredja.

Eudy Simelane was a well respected midfielder and captain of the South African women’s national soccer team, Banyana Banyana, passionate about the game. She was also gay and that’s why she was murdered. On the 28th of April 2008, at the age of 31 she was gang-rapped and stabbed while being subjected to “corrective rape”. Simelane’s teammate from the Tsakane Ladies football club, Girlie “S’gelane” Nkosi, aged 37, a lesbian activist actively fighting against hate crimes, was stabbed and murdered a year later in Kwa-Thema, where they were both from.

“Corrective rape” is an attempt to punish and change somebody’s sexuality through rape. Horrible events like this is by no means isolated solely to South Africa. Discrimination and hate crime towards gays and lesbians is a world wide problem. But in South Africa, according to ESPN who researched and reported the story in the video above, “a disproportionate number of female athletes have been victims, if only because more are openly gay as Simelane was”.

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Why am I against slum tours?

Dear Hidden Jakarta Slum Tour,

As an indonesian and a student who has spent most of her life doing development work with urban and rural underprivileged and in emergency relief in several countries, it is disgusting to see the Slumdog Millionare Hollywood trend being manifested into an appalling, undignified, profit-making experience by your company by your marketing of tours in the slum areas of Jakarta.

If what you intend to do is show rich and poor Jakartans as the same as rich and poor of other cities, there are better ways to do this.

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In defence of the vuvuzela and against cultural homogeneity in football.

Ever since the Confederations Cup started, the vuvuzela has been a source of controversy for some inexplicable reason. So many people think they should be banned and while this came up as a point of discussion for 2010 prior to the beginning of the Confederations Cup, FIFA said it would not be banned if they were not  used as weapons or projectiles. However, because there has been complaints from media, foreign spectators and footballers, FIFA might have to revisit the issue.

I must respectfully disagree on the arguments for banning the vuvuzela. FIFA takes a risk every four years in granting nations host status but they have to accept that each nation is different and will inevitably bring to the global stage new additions to our vernacular football culture. The vuvuzela is one of them, and distinctly South African. While the vuvuzela was developed later on in South African sporting history, it is no less culturally significant for South African football fans, as evidenced by its heavy presence in the stadium, a fun, cheap way for the fans to show their loyalty toward their teams.

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