At first it looked like FIFA had made a big fat mess of things again. Amid protests in which a million people have taken to the streets, sparked by the high cost of building infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup, FIFA thought it would be a good time to … unveil their official World Cup champagne!
Yes this happened today, as FIFA’s partner, Taittinger, announced a sponsorship deal to make the bubbly the “official champagne” of both the World Cup qualifying rounds and next year’s finals.
It is not quite a Marie Antoinette moment for Fifa, which has yet to mention the news on its website or include Taittinger among its marketing affiliates. But the winemaker has already popped the cork. “Champagne Taittinger will manifest its presence at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the months to come through various initiatives with the help of its 150 distributors around the world,” it announced.
Taittinger retails for about $90 a bottle. Which must sit well in a country where many don’t have access to clean water.
But just as you’re ready to drop a big Monty Python foot on the whole organization, this happens: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said today that FIFA will give $100 million in World Cup profits back to Brazil for development projects.
Soccer’s governing body gave South Africa $100 million for development projects after the 2010 World Cup but had not previously said it would establish a similar “social fund” after the 2014 tournament to Brazil.
Now, in Rio de Janeiro, Blatter says “an amount like that or even higher will be possible to have here.”
Before you get excited, remember that Brazil is spending billions on the World Cup, and that’s not counting the outlay for the 2016 Olympics. And the Pope is visiting next month. It’s hard to call $100 million a drop in the bucket, so I won’t. But it’s not going to solve Brazil’s problems, and probably won’t do much to quell the social unrest.
Shall we drink to that?