SOCCER & POLITICS Kenneth Brooks Mr. Brooks is a senior history major, who wrote this for Dr. Guy Martin in Political Science.

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1 SOCCER & POLITICS Kenneth Brooks Mr. Brooks is a senior history major, who wrote this for Dr. Guy Martin in Political Science. Introduction Politics and the sport of soccer have been intertwined for decades. From the sports humble beginnings on fields at British schoolyards in the mid-1800s to present day, from domestic issues to games with international politics behind them, soccer has almost always had something to do with politics on some scale. As the sport has grown throughout the world, the influence of politics has become more apparent. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the first foray of the sport of soccer into the court system was accomplished with the Bosman case on free transfers which has seen the entire sport affected by this ruling across the clubs. In the 1970s and 1980s, soccer in South America and politics through either war or greed was considered to be normal, and in the past year in the United States there has been a large shift in how the construction of soccer stadiums are being funded as more cities hope to get a professional soccer team. FIFA, A Political Entity For soccer s international governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, more commonly referred to as FIFA, the ultimate competition is the World Cup held every four years since 1930 except for the years during and immediately following World War II. 1 Although FIFA is the governing body of soccer throughout the world, the organization itself has become more of a political organization in recent years. FIFA was founded in 1904 with its headquarters located in Zurich, Switzerland which requires the organization to abide by

2 Swiss laws. Under FIFA itself are six umbrella organizations, each representing a continent excluding Antarctica. These organizations are the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), 2 Confederation of African Football (CAF), Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) 3, Confedracion Sudamericana de Futbol (CONMEBOL), Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). 4 Besides these umbrella organizations, FIFA also has a Congress (legislative branch), Executive Committee (executive branch), and a General Secretariat (administrative branch), as well as other committees that assist the Executive Committee. 5 The FIFA Congress is the legislative body of the organization and is made up of representatives from every member nation of FIFA. Each member nation has one representative in the Congress, which gives the Congress a total of 209 members. One of the main duties of the Congress is to elect the President of FIFA. Sepp Blatter of Switzerland is the current President and has been in office since 1998 when he succeeded Joao Havelange of Brazil. 6 In the 61st FIFA Congress in 2011, Blatter was running for reelection against Mohammed bin Hammam of Qatar. 7 This election was marred by allegations that bin Hammam and Jack Warner, President of CONCACAF that they had attempted to buy votes for the bidding process of the 2018 World Cup selection process with Lord David Triesman, former head of the English Football Association accusing Warner of asking for money to build an education center in his home country of Trinidad & Tobago in exchange for getting the members of CONCACAF to vote for England to host the 2018 World Cup. 8 As the investigation into Warner continued, it was discovered that the corruption also extended to the 2022 World Cup selection process with Warner and bin Hammam working together to have the 2018 World Cup awarded to whoever was willing to pay and support Qatar s bid for the 2022 World Cup. Due to these allegations, bin

3 Hammam was forced to withdraw from the FIFA Presidential race and was suspended along with Warner from the organization itself. 9 The Bosman Ruling One of the major court rulings that has affected international soccer was the case of Union Royale Belge des Sociétés de Football Association (ASBL) v Jean-Marc Bosman, more commonly known as the Bosman ruling. The ruling established the rights of professional players whose contracts were soon to expire the opportunity to sign with any club of their choosing. Bosman, was a professional player for Royal Football Club (RFC) Liege in Belgium, whose contract was up at the end of the Belgian First Division season. Under the rules at that time, for Bosman to go to a new club in a foreign country after his current contract had ended, his current club had to be compensated monetarily, which in soccer terms is referred to as a transfer fee. This was not the practice in every country as some countries, like Spain and France which allowed free movement to foreign clubs. Whereas in Great Britain they used Transfer Tribunals to resolve any dispute between a player and clubs when a player wished to move at the end of their contract. Bosman was planning to sign a contract with the French side Union Sportive du Littoral de (USL) Dunkerque, but the transfer fee required by RFC Liege was too high for USL Dunkerque to afford. Instead of being allowed to play for USL Dunkerque, Bosman was forced to stay at RFC Liege with his wages cut due to him being allotted less playing time Bosman took his case to the European Court of Justice, located in Luxembourg, where the court ruled in his favor. The court felt that the issue was in direct violation of parts of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the Treaty of Rome, signed in Since the Bosman ruling took effect, soccer players can start negotiating

4 with other teams when there is less than six months on the player s current deal and be granted a free transfer to the new team once their current contract has ended. The Bosman Rule as it is now referred to has been adopted by all the countries that have soccer leagues World Cup Qualifying Game between Chile and the Soviet Union In the run up to the 1974 World Cup in West Germany, Chile and the Soviet Union had to face each other in the final round of qualification. The two teams were to play a two game series with each team playing a game in their home nation, with the team with the best results from the two games advancing to the World Cup finals. The first leg was played in Moscow on September 26, 1973, and the teams played it out to a scoreless draw. The second leg was to take place in Santiago, Chile on November 21, 1973, in the Estadio Nacional de Chile. Two weeks prior to the first game in Moscow, Augusto Pinochet assumed control of Chile following a coup, overthrowing the elected government under Salvador Allende. Problems arose when the Soviets learned of the location of the game as it had been used during the aftermath of the coup as a detention center and torture house. Men and women were herded into the underground maze of dressing rooms and offices, left to starve, subjected to brutal tortures and interrogation and underwent mock firing squads; others were simply executed. 14 Due to this, the Soviets, along with their allies in East Germany, Asia, and Africa started to petition FIFA for the game to be moved to a different venue. FIFA responded by sending a fact-finding mission in October 1973, the members of the fact-finding mission issued a response that read: As mentioned before, the stadium is at present being used as a clearing station and the people in there are not prisoners but only detainees whose identity has to be established the stadium is under military guard and entry is only with a special pass. Inside the outer fencing everything appears to be normal and gardeners are working on the gardens. Inside the stadium itself the seats and pitches were empty and the remaining detainees were in the dressing room and other rooms. The grass on the pitch is in perfect condition

5 as were the seating arrangements Outside the stadium approximately people were waiting for news of the relatives who were still detained. 15 Despite the protests by the Soviets and their allies, FIFA said the game was to continue on as planned and referred to Article 22 of its statute: If a team does not report for a match except in the case of force majeure, accepted by the organizing committee the team shall be considered as having lost. 16 The Soviet team stayed at home, and the Chileans were awarded with a spot in the 1974 World Cup. Argentina, England, the Falkland War and the World Cup The 1982 World Cup in Spain was one instance where politics and soccer collided. In April of 1982, the Argentine military invaded the Falkland Islands, which for years had been claimed by both Argentina and Great Britain, but under control of the British. The British responded by sending its armed forces to retake the islands. The military Junta and press of Argentina painted a picture that the Argentines were winning the conflict, but when the Argentine National Team arrived in Spain for the World Cup, the team s star player, Diego Maradona remarked, We were convinced we were winning the war, and like any patriot my allegiance was to the national flag. But then we got to Spain and we discovered the truth. It was a huge blow to everyone on the team. 17 The uncensored coverage of the Falkland Wars by the Spanish press demoralized the Argentine team, who proceeded to get upset in their first game on June 13, 1982 against Belgium. The following day on June 14, the Argentine military surrendered to the British. 18 Argentina s Preparations for the 1978 World Cup The 1974 World Cup qualifier involving Chile and the Soviet Union and the 1982 World Cup involving Argentina and England during the Falkland War are just the tip of the iceberg

6 when focusing on Latin American soccer and politics. During the 1970s and 1980s, the countries of Latin America were mostly under the rule of dictators and these dictators used the sport of soccer to varying degrees of success during their rule. Argentina was awarded the 1978 World Cup at FIFA s Tokyo summit in Nine years later, former president Juan Peron returned from exile and with help from a youth movement and right wing Peronistas, retook control of the Argentine government. Juan Peron died in July 1974, and the government, under his third wife, Isabelita Peron, descended into an unholy scramble for power and influence over the frightened and inexperienced La Presidenta. 19 The country was in turmoil and the Argentine soccer leagues were a mirror image of how the country was falling apart. 20 Preparations for the World Cup had been non-existent up to this point. Stadium improvements were needed in Mendoza, Mar del Plata, and Cordoba as well as renovations being needed for stadiums in Rosario and Buenos Aires as well as an improvement to the country s infrastructure. In 1975, the government organized its fifth World Cup Organizing Committee headed by the football association. This committee ran into problems from another World Cup committee that had been organized by the Ministry of Tourism. 21 In 1974, a game between Rosario Central and Newell s Old Boys in Rosario was tied at two, when the referee Alvarez awarded Newell s Old Boys a penalty right before the end of the game. The Rosario Central fans rioted and five police officers were injured. Following these events, the police used an old sports Fraud law that was very ambigious in its wording to bring charges against Alvarez and have him jailed only to be released a few days later after both a referees strike and a threat of a player s strike saw police officials relent. Alfredo Gomez Chair,

7 a lawyer in Argentina brought charges against another referee following a game between Gimnasia y Esgrima Mendoza and Estudiantes. 22 Finally in March 1976, General Jorge Videla convened a meeting of the military and the military commanders took over the country and the government became known as La Junta. The generals established the Ente Autarquico Mundial (EAM) under the leadership of General Omar Actis. On the way to his first press conference as the leader of EAM, Actis was assassinated and the Junta blamed the Montoneros guerrilla groups 23 With Actis dead, Admiral Carlos Alberto Lacoste took control of the government and was assisted by Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera. Lacoste and Massera found the money to complete the infrastructure that was required for the World Cup to be held in 1978, but in the process skimmed many millions of dollars off the top of every contract and deal the World Cup required. 24 Stadium Building in the United States In 1988, the United States was awarded the 1994 FIFA World Cup. As part of the agreement for the United States to host the World Cup, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) had to establish a top division professional soccer league in the country. 25 Although the league was supposed to launch in 1995, the year after the World Cup, the USSF had to delay the launch of the league until 1996 with ten teams. 26 Former England International player, David Beckham, who also played for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Major League Soccer (MLS), was given a provision within his contract by the league that allowed him to purchase an expansion franchise for twenty five million US dollars instead of the usual one hundred million US dollars. 27 On February 4, 2014, Beckham announced at a news conference plans to place the new team in Miami and announced that We don t want public funding, we will fund the stadium ourselves. 28 This news conference, came

8 after the Miami-Dade County commissioners voted unanimously on December 16, 2013 to allow Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez to begin negotiating for the placement of a soccer stadium in downtown Miami. Additional parts of the resolution require for private funding for the construction of the stadium and that if the stadium is built on public land, rent has to be paid on it. The only issue remaining for the Miami-Dade commissioners is the location of the proposed stadium. Beckham and his representatives would prefer to place the stadium in the seaport across from the Bayside Marketplace while some of the commissioners would prefer other sites with Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa saying I don t see the relation of a soccer stadium with the big boats and the big cargo that is coming from Panama, this will be detrimental in there. 29 At the same time that Beckham s Miami team is in the process of joining the MLS, the Orlando City Soccer Club will be making the move from the USL Pro League (third highest league in the United States) to the MLS in Currently Orlando City plays at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex located at Walt Disney World which holds 5,300 people when at full capacity, but on March 31, 2014, the Orlando City Council approved the plans for a new stadium that will hold 18,000 people. The agreement holds that, while the team will develop the facility, it will ultimately be owned by the city of Orlando. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said about the stadium; We like to do things world class here. It will be a great stadium whether it s an $85 million stadium or $110 million. But I would really like to see us have the same kind of quality we have at the Amway Center 30 and the performing arts center. 31 Conclusion Soccer and politics do not always go along together. One can go out to a local soccer field on a Saturday and watch a game at a youth level or an adult recreation league and enjoy a game that has zero political connotations to it. Soccer at the professional and international level

9 is surrounded by politics within the organization of FIFA itself. FIFA has been structured as a political entity with a full Congress and a President that run the organization. As seen by the most recent Presidential election, FIFA is not immune to the corruption that exists in the world of politics as Jack Warner and Mohammed bin Hammam have received lifetime bans from the organization for their parts in conspiring to rig the results of the World Cup bidding process. The sport of soccer has also seen the courtroom in recent decades with the Bosman ruling which has allowed for free movement of players when their contracts have expired to any club that they player wishes to go play for. Since the Bosman Ruling, some countries have added in other measures to keep their top level leagues from being overrun by foreign players with restrictions on a requirement for a certain number of players who were home grown (trained) in the nation for at least four years before their 23rd birthday (England s third and fourth level leagues), limit the number of players a team can sign from non-european Union countries (Italy), or just put a flat rule against the number of foreigners who can play in a squad each game (Brazil). The Bosman Ruling changed the way soccer works with the allowance of free movement for all players in the world. The issues in the 1970s and the early 1980s in South America involving soccer and politics were caused by the dictatorships that were taking over the continent at the time more so than any issue with soccer. In 1973, Pinochet had just recently come to power in Chile, and had used the national stadium as a place to keep political prisoners. Although FIFA found no problems with the Soviet Union s request to have two game moved due to human rights violations, the big issue with the Soviet Union s request was that in the past the Soviet Union had been guilty of human rights violations and were now refusing to go play a single soccer game because another country was doing the same thing the Soviet Union had done in the past.

10 In 1982, the ruling Junta in Argentina took steps to try to secure the Falkland Islands from the British in the months preceding the World Cup. When the British responded with more force than the Junta was expecting, the Junta was forced to paint a picture of an expected victory to keep the Argentine populace happy. The fact that Argentina surrendered to the British the day after the national team suffered an embarrassing loss in the World Cup leads one to wonder about the real reason for the surrender. Prior to the World Cup, the Argentine Junta was content to continue to convince the Argentine populace that the war was being won in the Falkland Islands, but as soon as the information got to the national soccer team and their opening match of the World Cup was lost, partially due to the recent shock of how the war was proceeding, it makes the timing of the surrender in the Falkland Islands more suspect, in that the government was more concerned with having a good showing at the World Cup. Argentina can also be seen as a case study of how the people and politics go hand in hand from 1974 through 1978 as the country prepared to host the World Cup. Civil unrest spilled into the crowds at games causing riots following the death of Peron. Once the military Junta stabilized the country and got the preparations for the World Cup underway, large scale corruption became the norm with millions skimmed off the top that could have been used for infrastructure saving more money to be used for the populace instead of lining the wallets of the Junta. In the United States in the last few months, there have been preparations to add two new teams to Major League Soccer in the state of Florida. The local governments of Miami and Orlando have provided a great template for future governments on how to handle getting a stadium deal in place to have a team placed in that city. With the league continuing to look for

11 another location for a team, interested owners and local governments can learn from the example of Miami and Orlando in how to go about this process to successfully gain a team. 1 The years that the World Cup would have been scheduled but not played were 1942 and 1946 due to World War II. 2 Australia left the OFC and joined the AFC in 2006 due to a lack of competition in the OFC 3 Guyana and Suriname are members of CONCACAF even though both countries are a part of South America. 4 Turkey and Kazakhstan are members of UEFA even though a majority of their territory is in Asia and not Europe. Israel and Cyprus are also members of UEFA for political reasons. 5 "The Organisation." FIFA.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr <http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/organisation/index.html>. 6 Havelange is the only FIFA President to not be from the continent of Europe. 7 Scott, Matt. "Mohamed bin Hammam confirms intention to run for Fifa presidency." The Guardian [London] 18 Mar. 2011: n. pag. The Guardian. Web. 26 Apr Bond, David. " adds to pressure on Warner." BBC Sport. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr <http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/ >. 9 Bryant, Tom. "Sepp Blatter cleared as Fifa suspends Bin Hammam and Warner." The Guardian [London] 29 May 2011: n. pag. The Guardian. Web. 27 Apr Flores, Ramón, David Forrest, and J. D. Tena. "Impact on Competitive Balance from Allowing Foreign Players in a Sports League: Evidence from European Soccer." Kyklos 63, no. 4 (November 2010): Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed March 4, 2014). 11 Simons, Raoul "SO, HOW WAS IT FOR EU? THE BOSMAN RULING 10 YEARS ON." Evening Standard, December Regional Business News, EBSCOhost (accessed March 4, 2014). 12 Flores 13 Simons 14 Goldblatt, David. The ball is round: a global history of soccer. New York: Riverhead Books, Print. pg Goldblatt p Goldblatt obtained this information for his book from the J. Sugden and A. Tomlinson (1998), FIFA and the Contest for World Football, p Goldblatt p Goldblatt p Goldblatt p Goldblatt p Goldblatt p Goldblatt p Goldblatt p Goldblatt p Goldblatt p Goldblatt p The ten teams the first season were: Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas), Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City), Los Angeles Galaxy, New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls), San Jose Clash (moved to Houston and became the Houston Dynamo), Tampa Bay Mutiny (folded by the league in 2002). 27 Gaughan, Jack, and Laura Williamson. "This can be The People's Club... and yes, I want the very best to play here! Beckham announces 'exciting' MLS franchise in Miami (but will their kit be Man City blue?)." Daily Mail [London] 5 Feb. 2014: n. pag. Mail Online. Web. 27 Feb Madigan, Nick. "Hurdles Ahead for Beckham and M.L.S. in Miami." The New York Times 5 Feb. 2014: n. pag. The New York Times. Web. 27 Feb

12 29 Mazzei, Patricia. "Miami-Dade commissioners sound gung-ho about David Beckham s potential Major League Soccer stadium Read more here: Miami Herald 17 Dec. 2013: n. pag. Miami Herald. Web. 27 Feb Arena in downtown Orlando that is the home arena for the NBA s Orlando Magic 31 "Orlando City Council approves plan for 18,000-seat soccer stadium for Orlando City SC." MLSSoccer 31 Mar. 2014: n. pag. MLS Soccer. Web. 31 Mar

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