Brazil and FIFA: Potential Image Nightmare

The equation is quite simple, the lower income population is not going to be happy when a government is spending quite a bit of its resources on improving its infrastructure to host a one-month tournament, especially, when these improvements end up taking the better part of 6 years. The protests in Brazil can best be described by a video that was posted on YouTube titled: “No, I am not going to the World Cup”, posted below.

The video discusses the different steps taken by the Brazilian Government in ensuring that the country is ready for the World Cup, much of which can be questioned when many of the country live in poverty with a poor standard of living. An argument raised by the video is that the majority of “benefits” from the World Cup will actually be a deterrent to the Brazilian economy and its people. Multiple studies exist citing that hosting such a lavish event, with all of its infrastructure improvements, tends to negatively effect a nation in the long run, and that the financial benefits are skewed towards corporations and organizing bodies, in this case, FIFA.

Over the past 6 years, if not more, FIFA has come under an extreme amount of scrutiny for multiple reasons, such as, but not limited too, the following:

  1. The President, Sepp Blatter, making ridiculous and sometimes insulting statements
  2. Corruption investigations among the different bodies of the organization
  3. Goal-line technology debate that has gone on for over 3 years
  4. The awarding of a World Cup to Qatar which brought out further debates on corruption and bribery
  5. The awarding of a World Cup, a summer tournament, to Qatar, who’s summer temperatures can reach close to 50 degrees Celsius (at the time of this post, around 2 hours from when the first game of the day would kick off in a World Cup, the temperature in Qatar is 42 degrees Celsius)

The above has greatly affected the image of FIFA, truly turning it into an “evil corporation” (Google Search “FIFA evil”), run by a “dictator” (Google Search “FIFA dictator”), which is “destroying the beautiful game” (Google Search “FIFA destroying football”). Football is truly a worldwide sport, which requires a governing body that embodies this culture. I know there will be people out there that say, “Well, FIFA just operates as any governing body does, these things happen with International governments as well, FIFA has just been outed”, and it’s hard not to agree to that, but as leaders of the sport, their image and brand is all the more important.

A healthy FIFA brand can do wonders for the further development of societies around the world and for the improvement of the standard of living of the poor through football charities and programs, etc. The ideas that FIFA holds as truths are exemplary, however, their actions in attaining these truths has been a dent on an image that promotes “Authenticity, Unity, Performance, and Integrity” “For the game. For the world”.

Also, the media’s interest in the protests in Brazil hasn’t helped the country’s image either. Brazil is known for its tourist destinations, Samba, Futbol, Carnival, Amazon, and overall happy go-lucky attitude of the people. Although these protestors have every right to voice their opinion, in a non-violent manner, their actions will definitely have an affect on the appeal of the Brazil World Cup in 2014. I’m not suggesting that the World Cup will see empty stadiums, etc. but I do believe that this will potentially harm revenues received from the tourism aspect of the World Cup.

Situations such as this one with FIFA and Brazil can create a miscommunication between an organization/country’s message and what is perceived by the general public. As with any brand, the message must be in-sync with what is delivered to the consumer/public and if it isn’t, then the brand and the team responsible for it have an even harder job to keep their brand promise. FIFA and Brazil must work together, as organizer and government, to ensure that the protestors’ demands are considered, actions are taken to meet reasonable demands, and to maintain public communication with these protestors. Only then, will the public begin to feel comfortable again with the World Cup in Brazil and FIFA.

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