A short blurb on the Guardian.co.uk site dated 8/30 highlights the hypocrisy of FIFA when it comes to promising economic development for South Africa via the World Cup and protecting their own economic development.
The post titled “Fifa news: living our values” goes on to state:
2008: Sepp Blatter (my note: FIFA chief) pledges massive social and economic benefit to ordinary South Africans from World Cup 2010; Fifa promise “fair trade”.
2009: A keyring salesman becomes the latest South African to be sued by Fifa for breaching intellectual property rights after making a fob with “2010” on it. The case follows earlier Fifa action against a pub for having “World Cup 2010” painted on its roof, and against a firm distributing football-themed lollipops. Benefiting most from the rights protection: Fifa 2010 corporate family members McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Satyam. (Last time Satyam made news: January, Sepp standing by the IT firm – “They share Fifa’s ideals!” – after Satyam’s founder, Ramalinga Raju, admitted £660m of “unprecedented” fraud. “It kind of got out of hand …”
I understand FIFA wanting to protect their valuable property and the interests of their sponsors (who’ve paid FIFA a pretty penny) but to go from praising the economic impact of the World Cup for ordinary South Africans to then doing things like suing a small business person for making a small item with the words “2010” on it or making a bar/pub owner shut their doors (see earlier post) are a bit drastic and, (without knowing all of the circumstances) unnecessary!
FIFA needs to understand that entrepreneurial South Africans are going to try their best to make money off the games. Rather than try to sue every small business person along the way, which I’m sure would be a very expensive undertaking, they should look to embrace and “control” (i.e. provide brand standards) the work that entrepreneurs will do. What they are doing is similar to what the music industry was trying to do in the early days of music file-sharing/downloading; they should heed the lessons learned by the music industry and try to work with the system. Otherwise, FIFA will be spinning their litigating wheels and making A LOT of South Africans angry along the way.
Full article can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/aug/30/said-and-done-sepp-blatter