The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Opinion

Please Advise! World Cup Proves Unethical, Irresistible

Like heading a solid gold soccer ball, FIFA guilt can mess with your mind.

By Steve Burgess 19 Jun 2014 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph. D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

Let me be clear -- the World Cup has not turned me into a giant, loathsome couch slug. Far from it. Last Sunday I put on pants, brushed my teeth, and went outdoors for 15 minutes between games. When Holland's Robin van Persie headed in that amazing goal against Spain I leapt to my feet and screamed, probably burning several calories. And thanks to modern technology I can pause the action for bathroom breaks. Grandpa still prefers to use an old peanut butter can, but he's a traditionalist.

The problem is I'm wracked with guilt. No, not about the cat -- I've left the fridge door open so she can find her own food. It's just that as a football fan I feel I am part of the problem -- the FIFA problem.

I am afraid I am enabling a vast, corrupt apparatus that has attached itself to Brazil like the Alien on John Hurt. FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his minions are a truly scuzzy bunch busily sucking up Brazilian resources and keeping the profits, as John Oliver so eloquently described on his HBO show Last Week Tonight.

Should I stop watching? I mean hypothetically, if such a thing were possible.

Signed,

Seated for the Duration

Dear Seated,

Yes, it's the old Vatican Syndrome -- marvelling at the glorious wonders of St. Paul's and the Vatican Museum (or for that matter any of the fabulous cathedrals of Europe) and trying not to think about how all that splendour came to be.

Thinking about the skulduggery of FIFA -- bribed refs in South Africa, overspending in Brazil, worker deaths in Qatar -- then seeing the likes of van Persie or Lionel "The Flea" Messi creating physical poetry on the pitch; it can create serious cognitive dissonance. Like heading a solid gold soccer ball (a favourite FIFA party game), it can mess with your mind. But there are ways to alleviate your footie guilt.

Give thanks for Brazilian sacrifice

Many First Nations cultures hold ceremonies after a successful hunt in which they give thanks to the spirits of the animals they have killed. In a similar vein, you could give thanks to the people of Brazil for sacrificing a portion of their health care and social safety net to FIFA and the World Cup. Perhaps if you have a spare tube of Polysporin kicking around the medicine cabinet you might donate it to the Red Cross, and it might then find its way to a Rio de Janeiro clinic. Conscience, quiet your incessant harping.

But damn that FIFA, they do have a great product. The action has been mostly fabulous so far, and as usual there are many fascinating little details. During the Italy-England match it was revealed that the Italians are wearing self-massaging jerseys. If Peter MacKay hears about that funny business, we'll see preventative legislation tabled in the House lickety-split. Seeing the nifty spray cans referees now carry to lay down free-throw lines, I am hoping one of them turns out to be Banksy. And although thus far the jungle stadium in Manaus has yet to see a player-python encounter during game action, it's early days yet.

The World Cup is an exciting event. As with the Olympics, it is the organizational corruption and waste of resources that cause issues. So here's an idea: Let us do it. Make Canada the permanent home of the World Cup. What could possibly go wrong?

A Canadian Cup

Let's face it, when it comes to the planet's ultimate football tournament Canada is neutral territory. I know, we all have hopes. But if Team Canada can't get traction in the sad-sack CONCACAF region, it's a sure sign we are not likely to be a national force in the beautiful game for the foreseeable future (on the men's side anyway). Canada's ranking in men's soccer is roughly equivalent to our global reputation for pineapples. These days Canadian players need Dutch or Bosnian parentage to play in the big show. All the more reason why we should host. No home field advantage here.

Keeping it in Canada would take the corrupt FIFA awarding process out of it. As it is, the 2022 tournament was handed to Qatar. However, there's always a chance oil will be discovered on Venus and the tournament will subsequently take place in an atmosphere of 96 per cent carbon dioxide with game time temperatures of 462° Celsius (unless it's a hot day).

Canada has some existing facilities -- next year's Women's World Cup in Vancouver ought to prove we can do a fine job. Next step: we refuse admittance to FIFA president Sepp Blatter at the airport, and get some justice into the system so World Cup revenues are used to fund the World Cup instead of padding the FIFA bank account. That ought to help us break even and tourism bucks could compensate for any shortfall.

With Canada as permanent host, the world will enjoy the pinnacle of football competition guilt-free. We can get started as soon as Peter MacKay introduces that Anti-Self-Massaging-Jersey Bill.

In the meantime, if you have any messages for the outside world I'll be glad to pass them along. Talk to you July 14.  [Tyee]

Read more: Rights + Justice

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Coverage Would You Like to See More of This Year?

Take this week's poll