By Alex P. Vidal
“Life is a soccer field, don’t you think?”—Shakira
EVEN if we don’t have an entry in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, we must continue to watch, monitor, get an update, and talk about this Titanic sporting event being held for the first time in the gulf region.
We must get involved; we must look beyond the pitch and show that we belong.
In reporting about the FIFA World Cup, there’s no distinction among local, national, or international coverage. If it is FIFA World Cup, it’s BIG news period.
In the dizzying age of globalization, we can’t afford to be left behind.
Ignorance, or the lack of basic information about the FIFA World Cup, isn’t an excuse, especially if it’s the talk of the universe (no longer “the talk of the town”).
In one way or the other, opinion makers, fans, politicians, soldiers, rebels, barbarians, students, faith healers, scientists, overseas Filipino workers have become part of the FIFA World Cup, which can be monitored and chronicled even via the social media anywhere in the world.
FIFA World Cup isn’t only about soccer. It’s about world economy, media, geopolitics, gigantic sponsorship, franchise investments, network technology, rags to riches, global rivalries, advertisements, big dreams, discipline, supremacy, patriotism, team play, sacrifice, attitude, stardom, Olympic spirit, commerce, respect.
This is the only international spectacle where the kings and queens, as well as state leaders, spiritual gurus and dictators, ordinary street soccer players have been known to be enamored if not head over hills for several decades now. It’s not called a beautiful game for nothing.
Some view soccer to be boring. No, it’s not. It depends on how the fans appreciate it; it depends on what kind of fans are watching it.
Coming from the third world, the Philippines has all the reason to be part of the FIFA World Cup both in sentiments and spirit.
In terms of economic impact, nothing compares the FIFA World Cup to other sports conclaves.
We learned last month that FIFA earned record revenues of $7.5 billion in the four years of commercial deals tied to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The last three sponsors—two American and one from the Middle East—were reportedly disclosed hours before the opening game: YouTube, Visit Las Vegas and Fine Hygienic Holding, all in the third-tier category of regional sponsors.
The late arrivals to complete the slate of World Cup sponsors reportedly helped lift FIFA’s four-year income to more than $1 billion ahead of the previous commercial cycle linked to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Bloomberg has revealed in an Associated Press report on November 20, 2022 that FIFA’s reserves will rise to about $2.5 billion despite the COVID-19 pandemic. FIFA was prepared to use that cash to help members through uncertainty in 2020 when national team soccer and World Cup qualifying games were almost entirely shut down.
Revenues are reportedly likely to approach $10 billion for the next four years thanks to a new financial strategy for women’s soccer and the expanded 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Separate sponsor deals for women’s soccer are being signed for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The 2026 men’s tournament will have 48 teams instead of 32.
According to report, FIFA has an almost blank slate for the 2026 edition with top-tier sponsors Coca-Cola, Adidas and Wanda the only deals currently extended.
FIFA also reportedly pledged to give more money to member federations when they gathered in Qatar in March, promising their basic grant from Zurich would rise by 33% to $8 million in total from 2023-27.
A PRIDE OF ILOILO. We congratulate Robert Seraph Abogado Armada, the gifted son of former Iloilo (elected) vice governor and (DILG-sworn in) governor Roberto “Obet” Armada for having been awarded with a record scholarships in the total amount of $102,500 by the Seton Hall, a private university in South Orange, New Jersey, USA.
The scholarships, awarded as follows: a University Scholarship in the amount if $98,000, which will be awarded annually for four years in the amount of $24,500 per year, and a Summer Scholarship in the amount of $4,500, which will be awarded for three consecutive summers in the amount of $1,500 per year, were revealed by Katherine Fainer, Seto Hall University director of Undergraduate Admission, in a letter dated November 28, 2022.
“We commend you on your outstanding academic accomplishments,” Fainer wrote Armada.
“On behalf of the Seton Hall University community, we are delighted to recognize your accomplishments. I look forward to welcoming you as a member of the Seton Hall community.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)