A week or so before the kick-offs of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, I was walking in the coastal city of Zihuatanejo in Mexico's southern Guerrero state when I passed a group of children playing football with a plastic Coca-Cola bottle. They were as gleefully animated as any group of children playing football anywhere, while the Coke bottle was, I thought, regrettably appropriate in a world governed by corporate toxicity. It was particularly appropriate, perhaps, given that Coca-Cola and football go way back. The company, which has been an official World Cup sponsor since 1978, entered into a formal association with FIFA in 1974. Its logo, however, has saturated World Cup events since 1950. The partnership was initially ostensibly meant to promote youth development programmes, since there is clearly nothing better for youth development than
ingesting sticky brown liquid that is bad for human health.
Of course, that alliance is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of global capitalism's efforts to suck the soul out of football and eradicate any remnants of primordial joy by monetising and commodifying everything on and off the field. Given the deluge of corporate propaganda that we call "sponsorship", the uninitiated football spectator would be forgiven for thinking Adidas was a
football team or that matches are waged between Emirates and Etihad airlines.
Ultimately, there is nothing like sponsoring football's biggest competition to improve one's international branding. Chinese firms have also caught on. A few companies from China are leading in spending for the Qatar World Cup. In his book, El Fútbol a sol y sombra (Football in sun and shadow), first published in 1995, the renowned Uruguayan writer and die-hard football fan, Eduardo Galeano remarked how every footballer had become an "advertisement in motion"- though not everyone was happy with that arrangement. In the mid- 1950s, he recalled, when the prominent Montevideo club Peñarol had endeavoured to impose company advertising on its shirts, 10 members of the team had obediently taken to the field with the updated jerseys while a black player, Obdulio Varela had declined. "They used to drag us Blacks around with rings in our noses. Those days are gone," he retorted.
To be sure, it is never just fun and games when obscene quantities of money are involved. Take the case of Horst Dassler. Dassler was the son of Adidas founder Adi Dassler, himself charmingly a former member of the Nazi Party. In
1982, Dassler started a company called International Sports and Leisure, which promptly acquired exclusive marketing and TV rights to FIFA operations, including the World Cup. This was done by paying bribes to then-FIFA President
João Havelange, the same Havelange who had graciously appeared alongside Argentine dictator Jorge Videla during the 1978 World Cup in Buenos Aires.
That dictatorship was ultimately responsible for murdering or disappearing some 30,000 suspected leftists in a seven-year dirty war that was green-lit by -who else? - the United States, which was always eager to have more maleficent right-wing regimes on board in its quest to make the world safe for capitalism. In 1998, Havelange was replaced by Sepp Blatter, who has also been accused of rampant vote-buying and manipulation of financial data and who, according to Galeano, made Havelange look like a "Sister of Charity". Galeano died in April2015, a month before the US Department of Justice sensationally busted fourteen FIFA officials and corporate executives on corruption charges, with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch lamenting that the individuals had "corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and enrich themselves".
Nevertheless, as the US well know, corrupt self-enrichment and corporate impunity are business as usual in capitalism - which has also produced a "gentrification" of the sport itself, as researchers have shown. A study published by the Royal Society in December 2021 found that the "excessive monetisation of football" had led to increasing inequality between teams in major European leagues and a growing predictability of match outcomes. Even as those responsible for the sport's governance claim to be globalising football; in reality, the process replicates the inequality endemic in the corporate globalisation.
Indeed, the very spirit of professional football has been corrupted by the conversion of the sport into an industry. Consequently, this results in a regimented and technocratic game that aims to turn players into robots. As Galeano put it, this approach to football "forbids all fun", in the interest of maximised productivity and increased profit. He added that it "negates joy, kills fantasy, and outlaws daring". Magic, after all, is not profitable.
Mercifully, however, there have always been those who refuse to get with the programme. In Galeano's view, Brazilian footballer Mané Garrincha, born into poverty in Rio de Janeiro in 1933, was hands-down the player who brought the most happiness to audiences in the entire history of football, turning the game into an "invitation to a party". So much for the doctors who dismissed the prospect of any athletic future for "this misshapen survivor of hunger and polio...with the brain of an infant, a spinal column like an S and both legs bowed to the same side". Sadly, capitalism won in the end, and Garrincha died, poor and alone, in 1983.
Argentina's football virtuoso Diego Maradona, also from the wrong side of the tracks, defied boundaries too, including denouncing the tyranny of television in sport, advocating for labour rights in football, demanding financial transparency from football clubs, supporting the Palestinian cause, and generally driving the powers that be up the wall. On the field, he continued injecting old- school magic into modern mediocrity until he was expelled from the 1994 World Cup. Meanwhile, more recent resistance to football's descent into soulless, money-driven depths was seen last year, when furious fans in the United Kingdom helped force the collapse of a Super League scheme designed to further line the pockets of elite club owners. Admittedly, capitalism has certainly scored a major goal with professional football, yet the sport remains a source of popular passion and an affirmation of collective identity for countless people, on sports courts, grass pitches and dirt patches from Mexico to Mozambique, far from the billions of dollars swirling through the football industrial complexes.
As the 22 World Cup kicks off in Qatar today, with all its glory and excitement, Galeano would no doubt have criticised the whole televised spectacle. Still, he would have no doubt watched it on his TV, beer in hand, hoping for a glimpse of forbidden fun. That moment of unadulterated brilliance and beauty. As with the kids kicking the Coca-Cola bottle around Zihuatanejo, there is something about football that capitalism just cannot kill.
Belén Fernández has established herself as a one of the most trenchant observers of America's interventions around the world. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin and graduated from Columbia with a B.A. in Political Science. She frequently writes for Al Jazeera, Middle East Eye, and Jacobin, and is also the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work among numerous other publications.
Instructions: State if the following statements are True or False.
a. Coca Cola has been sponsoring the World Cup since 1950.
b. China is the main investor for the Qatar World Cup.
c. All except one member of Montevideo club Peñarol had played the match in their new jersey.
d. The extreme use of money in the Europe football matches had resulted in imbalance between teams in the leagues.
e. The players' regimented and technocratic game has corrupted the spirit of professional football.
Appearing to be one thing when it is really something else (Paragraph 1)
A small piece of something that is left from a larger original piece (Paragraph 2)
Important or famous (Paragraph 3)
To make exact copy of something (Paragraph 6)
Process of moving from a higher to a lower level or state (Paragraph 9)
Instructions: Answer the following questions in complete sentences.
a.What does Eduardo Galeano mean when he said that every footballer had become an advertisement in motion?
b.What are the effects of capitalisation on the FIFA management?
c.How is the impact of excessive monetisation in football similar to the effect of corporate globalisation in business?
d.What is the main idea of paragraph nine?
i. What is the dominant tone of the author?
ii. Explain your answer and support it with relevant evidence.
i. State the author's main purpose of writing the article.
ii. Explain your answer and provide evidence to support your answer.
i. Who is the author's intended audience?
ii. Explain your answer. For each of the statements below, identify whether it represents a fact or an opinion. Justify your answer.
i. In his book, El Fútbol a sol y sombra (Football in sun and shadow), first published in 1995, the renowned Uruguayan writer and die-hard football fan, Eduardo Galeano remarked how every footballer had become an "advertisement in motion"- though not everyone was happy with that arrangement.
ii. A study published by the Royal Society in December 2021 found that the "excessive monetisation of football" had led to increasing inequality between teams in major European leagues and a growing predictability of match outcomes.
i.Based on the article, evaluate and justify on the validity of the author's arguments.
j.Based on the article, evaluate and justify on the author's objectivity.
k.Based on the author's biography, evaluate and justify on the author's credibility.
SECTION B: GRAMMAR [20 MARKS]
Question I (10 marks)
Instructions: Construct a concise sentence based on each set of sentences in the sentences
Example: (0) In the month of April, we detected a quality control issue. It was instructed by the CEO that this item be presented by the manager at the next board meeting.
The CEO instructed the manager to present the quality control issue detected last April in the next board meeting.
a. Semiconductors have been in short supply this year. This is because of a number of factors including the closing of factories and the heightened consumer demand. (2 marks)
b. Datuk Paduka Syed Mashafuddin Syed Badarudin has been appointed by Affin Bank Bhd as the new chief executive officer of Affin Islamic Bank, and his appointment will take effect on Nov 8, 2022. (2 marks)
c. Fairuz forgot to include the company address, and also to add his signature in the business letter he wrote. Due to his carelessness, he was asked to rewrite it again. (2 marks)
d. At Barnes & Noble (B&N), reading is a huge and also massive business. The company serves 7.3 million customers and sells more than $4.4 billion in books every single year. (2 marks)
e. We have been given an instruction by the finance department to give a notification to all clients to settle any pending payment in a prompt manner. (2 marks)
Instructions: Based on the root words provided, add a suitable affix or affixes (prefix or suffix
or both prefix and suffix) The newly formed word must be meaningful within the context of the
Example: ...so she placed her vinyl yoga mat (0)_______ (care) on the floor in front of the toilet, rolling it past the single kitchen burner and the one-slot toaster and toward the foot of her desk.
Answer: (0) carefully
At the end of a long day at work, Azumi Fujiwara returned to her apartment and changed into her pyjamas. She wanted to get in a light workout before going to bed, so she placed her vinyl yoga mat (0) carefully (care) on the floor in front of the toilet, rolling it past the single kitchen burner and the one-slot toaster and toward the foot of her desk. After a bit of stretching, she stood (1)_______ (steady) to get into the warrior position. Instead of extending her arms fully, though, she pulled her elbows into her sides. "I need to modify my poses or else I will hit something," Ms. Fujiwara, 29, said. Such is life in a 95-square-foot Tokyo apartment. With its high property prices and the world's most (2)_______ (dense) inhabited metropolitan area, Tokyo has long been known for small accommodations. But these new apartments known as three-tatami rooms, based on how many standard Japanese floor mats would cover the living space are pushing the (3)_______ (limit) of normal living. A real estate developer, Spilytus, has been leading the charge toward ever-tinier spaces. It has been operating these shoe-box apartments since 2015, and with more than 1,500 residents now in its 100 buildings, demand has remained strong. While the units are half the size of an average studio apartment in Tokyo, they have 12-foot ceilings and an attic-like loft for sleeping. They are also (4)_______ (fashion), with pristine white floors and walls, and with some efficient arranging, it is possible to squeeze a washing machine, a fridge, a sofa and a work desk inside.
However, the apartments are (5)_________ (suit) and improper for those on a really tight budget. Cheaper apartments can be found, though they are usually decades old. However, the micro apartments, which rent for $340 to $630 a month, are a couple hundred dollars less than other studio apartments in similar areas. They are also situated near trendy locations in central Tokyo like Harajuku, Naka Meguro and Shibuya, which are generally quite expensive, with luxury boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Understandably, most of the (6)________ (construct) are close to subway stations; the top priority for many young people. Over two-thirds of the buildings' residents are people in their 20s, who in Japan earn on average about $17,000 to $20,000 a year, according to government data. Some are drawn by the (7)_______ (minimum) initial fees and the lack of a deposit or "gift money". The latter is a (8)_______ (refund) payment to the landlord that can be as much as three months' rent and which will not be returned to the tenants.
Consequently, these small spaces work for the lifestyle of many young Japanese. In Japan, it is not (9)_______ (custom) to host guests in homes, with nearly a third of Japanese people saying they have never had friends over, according to a survey by Growth From Knowledge, a data provider for the consumer goods industry. Ms. Fujiwara has not even had her partner over in (10)_______ (near) two years she has been living in her apartment. "This space is for me," she said.
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