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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: In South-East Asia, the Suzuki Cup commences

A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja, Manila

South-East Asia is football mad, and collectively one of the largest consumers of European football* in the world. This December, it’s all about Asia though, and we’ll see all the big names in their region performing for their countries. The ASEAN Football Federation’s Suzuki Cup will commence in South-East Asia, co-hosted by Indonesia and Vietnam. The Cup has been around since 1996, originally called the Tiger Cup and come the eve of the new year, will another side be in possession of the coveted cup? In Group A, we have Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. In Group B, we have Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar and the Philippines. Read on for a lightning quick introduction to each of the contenders.

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AFR: Hustlin’ for the World Cup

A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja, Manila

Bidding for the World Cup requires lobbying, wining and dining, carefully manipulated and crafted PR in exchange for securing the coveted hosting spot. The wheeling and dealing happens in the public eye and must go unquestioned by the media watchdogs under the rules of the game. In essence, the process is best left to skilled hustlers.

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AFR: World Cup 1 – 0 World Issues (or, A Brief Word from Toronto)

 

G20 Toronto 2010 International Press Media Centre

From Torontoist, the International Press Media Centre at the G20, where everybody's watching the World Cup.

A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja

The scene above is from the International Media Centre, from Torontoist (go there for actual interesting news about the summit). These figures in the photograph are international media here to cover the G20 summit in Toronto. According to Torontoist, in this photograph, they are actually watching the World Cup (Denmark versus Japan, to be precise). In the Alternative Media Centre (where the International NGOs, watchdogs and alternative media are parked), they are also watching the World Cup.

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AFR: Have a sore throat, a high temperature and feeling exhausted? Maybe you have a World Cup fever.

A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja, Toronto.

We’ve all done it, stayed up late or woke up far too early during a work day just to catch that football match we’ve been waiting for. But the World Cup only comes once every four years, and late nights cheering on one’s favourite team from halfway around the world becomes the norm this month.

In Indonesia and other Asian countries, the latest live matches of the “day” are at 1:30 in the morning, the day after. With matches on nearly every night for a month, weekends and weekdays, and  with at least two matches per night, most people are getting less and less sleep than usual, especially those who have work or school the next day.

So recently, Indonesian health experts (and employers) are growing concerned about the increased rates of actual fevers and fatigue-related illnesses caused by these late nights which, n most occasions, stressful and full of excitement, but also usually accompanied with cigarettes, booze, caffeine or sodas and energy drinks to stay alert during the match.

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AFR: Of world leaders and vuvuzelas?

A Football Report: By Soraya Soemadiredja, Toronto.

For Canadian residents, the World Cup isn’t the only world event they’ve got their eye on this June. The G8 and G20 annual summits are going to be hosted, at great cost the Canadian taxpayers, in Toronto and Ontario.

Yes, yes, this is all well and good for political watchers, you say, but can I go back to my football? In a second, I promise. According to the Globe and Mail’s Canadian columnist, Michael Kesterton, thirteen of the nineteen nations and one geo-political region that represent 85% of the world’s wealth have “soccer” as their “national past time”, whether or not they are represented in the current World Cup.

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