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After Stadium Deaths, FIFA’s Honchos Head to the Beach in Bahia, Braz

Here we go again. After the deaths, which took place in the São Paulo stadium under construction, FIFA sent a press release announcing its Executive Meeting number 29 to be held, the 4th and 5th of December 2015 in the Sauípe Fun Hotel, in Salvador da Bahia.

However I live in Salvador, Bahia and I can tell you that the Sauípe Fun Hotel is not in Salvador. It is in Mata de São João, it is an exclusive resort one hour by car from Salvador.

You might say, so what? FIFA officers want to stay away from the chaotic area of Salvador. Then I would have said in the press release, just to be honest, that the meeting would take place in a 5-star resort and not in Salvador.

Second strange thing. Executive meetings number 28 and 30 (the previous and next meeting) took place and will take place in Zurich. Now why did the previous meetings take place in cold Zurich (FIFA headquarters) and the December meeting will take place in a warm and beautiful resort in Bahia in December?

Especially at the time when being a FIFA officer is not so popular in Brazil? So why not staying far away from the angry crowds and in a beautiful resort where you can feel well and relax at no cost, given that FIFA (or the Brazilian government) pays for everything?

The Executive Committee meeting will take place Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th of December 2013, just before the weekend. Good, why not staying for the whole week in Costa do Sauípe then? On Thursday evening all the FIFA officers will be on their plane to cold Zurich. Maybe yes, maybe not.

But let’s examine the topics that will be discussed in the 29th Executive Meeting of FIFA: What strikes me the most is that the topics deal mostly with sport events that already took place (6 events) and only 6 with future events, of which most of them are of minor importance.

That means that the two-day meeting could indeed be shorter and the report on past events could have taken place in cold Zurich.

Oh, I forgot that the meeting will discuss the FIFA’s ballon d’or 2013,  something really important for world football.

There is another very interesting detail that strikes me. The email I received reads like this:

“Among many other topics, the FIFA Executive Committee will discuss sports political matters including the landmark agreement for the organisation of football in Cyprus following  the signing of a provisional arrangement by the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and  Cyprus Turkish Football Association (CTFA) in Zurich on 5 November 2013.

“A report on the meeting of the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup™ on 3 December will be presented and the Executive Committee will also discuss matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. In addition, the hosts of the FIFA tournaments and congresses for 2016 and 2017 are expected to be decided.”

However the agenda for the Executive Committee reads quite differently. The landmark agreement, first argument to justify the meeting in the email sent to journalists, in the Agenda of the Executive Meeting is only the fifth point to be discussed (E point) and classified as the third sports political matter “Agreement for football in Cyprus,” not so important at all. So why do they stress its importance as the main point in the press release?

Because it deals with pacification of an area in danger of war, something appealing nowadays given the low popularity of FIFA. Then obviously it is a marginal thing within the agenda.

And what about the discussion on the 2022 FIFA World up in Qatar? Certainly something very important and pressing given that it is 9 years away. And the hosts of the FIFA tournaments and congresses for 2016 and 2017 to be decided? Something relegated in the Miscellaneous in the Agenda, something of minor importance.

So why will the Executive FIFA meeting take place at Costa do Sauípe? It’s Brazil, it’s sun, holidays and please turn off the TV and those news of deaths at the stadium, we FIFA people want to relax in Bahia.

Max Bono is an investigative journalist traveling in Brazil.  You can contact him at researchinrio@yahoo.com.

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