Dortmund fans display banners demanding a boycott of 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar / sports.ndtv.com
FIFA bans Danish World Cup squad's human rights shirts/ lemonde.fr
German World Cup players cover mouths in protest of FIFA's ban on "One Love" armbands / cbsnews
Top 10 Most Popular Sports 2022 Updated Table / sportsbrowser.net/most-popular-sports
- FIFA 國際足球總會(Fédération Internationale de Football Association)，包含六個洲別足球聯會：
2. UEFA 歐洲足總(Union of European Football Associations)，是FIFA底下足球聯會之一。
3. UEFA Champions League 歐冠：由UEFA主辦，歐洲俱樂部最高榮譽，被譽為全世界最高競技水準的俱樂部盃賽，亦是世界上獎金最高的足球賽事和體育賽事之一，估計每屆賽事約有超過十億電視觀眾觀看賽事。
4. World Cup：全名應為The FIFA World Cup，簡稱World Cup，由FIFA成員的高級男子國家隊參加。
5. ESL歐洲超級聯賽(European Super League)：2021由幾個歐洲高級俱樂部提出，目的與歐冠競爭。
6. High Performance Sport/Elite Sports 職業、高水準運動
The Qatar World Cup shows how football is changing
A tide of new money will drive big changes for the world’s favourite sport
The Qatar World Cup shows how football is changing / Getty Images
2022年11 月 20 日，卡達足球員在世界杯首場比賽迎戰厄瓜多，但在 13 天前，FIFA(國際足聯)前主席塞普布拉特(Sepp Blatter)，告訴一家瑞士報紙，在他看來，將世界杯授予卡達是個“錯誤”。
2010 年，出乎所有人意外，Blatter宣布卡達獲勝，外交考慮下，他被迫採取截然不同路線，他宣布，足球將走向“新大陸”；這個想法是為了擴大比賽的吸引力，很少有其他觀察家願意為這筆交易辯護，腐敗、賄賂指控四起，儘管FIFA最終於 2014 年的一份報告，對卡達出價給予了認可
職業運動(Elite sport)是出了名的陰暗(murky)產業，可能永遠不會完全被人知道發生了甚麼事。卡達統治者以及130 萬球迷，都希望隨著比賽進行，討論將轉向球場上、而非場外。卡達為確保比賽成功，投入大量資金，建造七個體育場、擴建一個機場和數十家酒店。但就算如此，也只是暫時緩解的做法。在一個擁有大量資金，但沒有足球傳統、專制的石油國家，舉辦足球最大派對的決定，是金錢和新想法，撼動世界最受歡迎的運動的最明顯例子。
It was not the sort of pre-tournament publicity that the organisers would have hoped for. On November 20th Qatar’s footballers will take on Ecuador in the first match of the 2022 World Cup, the biggest event in the global sporting calendar. Yet just 13 days before, Sepp Blatter, a former president of fifa, world football’s governing body, told a Swiss newspaper that, in his opinion, awarding the World Cup to Qatar had been a “mistake”.
In 2010, when Mr Blatter pulled the card from the envelope and publicly announced Qatar’s victory—to general astonishment—he was forced, for the sake of diplomacy, to take a rather different line. Football, he announced, was going to “new lands”; the idea was to broaden the game’s appeal. Few other observers were willing to defend the deal. Accusations of corruption and bribery flew; though a report commissioned by fifa and eventually published in 2014 gave Qatar’s bid its seal of approval, with a few reservations.
Elite sport is a notoriously murky business, and exactly what happened may never be fully known. Qatar’s rulers, and the 1.3m fans expected at the World Cup, will be hoping that, as the matches get under way, talk will turn to matters on the pitch rather than off it. Qatar has spent lavishly to ensure the tournament is a success, building seven stadiums, an expanded airport and dozens of hotels. But if so, it will be only a temporary reprieve. The decision to hold football’s biggest party in a tiny, autocratic petrostate with plenty of money but no particular footballing heritage is only the starkest example of how money and new ideas are shaking up the top levels of the world’s favourite sport.
在過去幾年，貪腐醜聞撼動震動了足壇。布拉特先生本人於 2015 年在美國對
金錢，是卡達主要吸引力之一。它的球隊是亞洲冠軍，但很少人認為他們是競爭者。事實上，卡達從未獲得世界盃參賽資格（這次是因為主辦國自動獲得參賽資格）。但它是一股金錢的力量，熱衷將自己宣傳為現代化發達國家，但確切的數字很少，不過本屆幾乎可以肯定是有史以來最昂貴的一屆，據說僅體育場就耗資 65億美元，名為“卡達 2030”的 3,000 億美元經濟發展計劃，大部分內容都是為了滿足世界盃訂製的（例如，為幾個新體育場提供服務的地鐵）。
In the past few years corruption scandals have shaken football. Mr Blatter himself stepped down in 2015, during an American investigation into fifa, and was later banned from football administration by its ethics committee. The covid-19 pandemic has worsened the already fragile finances of many top-flight clubs, which are struggling to pay the enormous wages that star players can command.
Last year saw the rise and temporary fall of a plan for a breakaway “European Super League” (esl) of elite clubs, built on the closed, cartel-like model of American professional sports. Hedge funds and investors from America and the Middle East have invested in financially precarious European clubs: they are keen to squeeze yet more games into an already packed calendar. There is even talk among investors, and the sport’s administrators, of a rash of new super-tournaments, some of which are explicitly designed to compete with the World Cup itself.
Money was one of Qatar’s chief attractions. Its team are Asian champions, but few consider them contenders. In fact, the national side has never qualified for a World Cup before (it is playing this time because the host country qualifies automatically). But it is a financial force, and keen to promote itself as a modern, developed country. Solid numbers are scarce, but the current World Cup is almost certainly the most expensive ever staged. The stadiums alone are said to have cost $6.5bn. Much of a broader $300bn economic development plan called Qatar 2030 has been written with the needs of the World Cup in mind (a gleaming new metro system, for instance, serves several of the new stadiums).
付出代價 Paying the price
法拉（kafala)，一種贊助的制度下，常受到嚴厲對待，未經雇主同意，不得任意更換工作或離境。他們竭盡全力準備，許多人因此喪生。丹麥隊身著單色紅色球衣上場，球衣上遮掉隊徽和球衣商Logo，製造商 Hummel 表示，它不希望在比賽中“露出”，另一套是黑色表達哀悼。10 月，澳洲隊發了一段影片，批評卡達涉嫌侵犯人權。這一切似乎都不能扭轉大型體育賽事在專制國家舉行的日益增長的趨勢
包括曼徹斯特的布魯諾 費爾南德斯Bruno Fernandes，和多特蒙德的尼科 施洛特貝克Nico Schlotterbeck幾名球員，都抱怨比賽的時間。世界盃通常在六七月，因為卡達炎熱的夏天而改到 11 月是必要，但這剛好處於利潤豐厚的歐洲俱樂部賽季中期，利物浦主將爾根·克洛普Jürgen Klopp總結很多人心情：無論如何我都會看比賽，但這是不同的。”
ESL被設想為一年一度的比賽，讓歐洲頂級俱樂部競爭，就像歐冠(Champions League)，來自歐洲十幾家精英俱樂部，包括阿森納Arsenal、尤文圖斯Juventus和皇家馬德里Real Madrid，在2021年4月宣布該計劃，但在球迷和政界強烈反對下，幾天後放棄了這一計劃——儘管只是暫時。
That frenzy of construction has made many uncomfortable.
Qatar’s large force of migrant labourers are often harshly treated under its kafala (“sponsorship”) system, unable to change jobs or leave the country without their employer’s consent. They were worked to the bone to get things ready; many have died on the job. The Danish team will play in a monochrome red shirt which hides the team crest and kitmaker’s logo. Hummel, the manufacturer in question, said it did not “wish to be visible” at the tournament. One of its other kits is black, “the colour of mourning”. In October the Australian team released a video criticising Qatar for alleged human-rights abuses. None of this seems likely to reverse a growing trend for big sporting events to be held in autocracies.
Several players, including Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United and Nico Schlotterbeck of Borussia Dortmund, have complained about the timing of the tournament. The World Cup usually takes place in June or July. Rescheduling it to November was necessary to avoid the scorching Qatari summer. But it leaves the tournament sitting awkwardly in the middle of the lucrative European club season. Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool’s manager, summed up the mood for many: “I will watch the games anyway, but it’s different.”
Money—both the lack of it now and the desire for more in future—was also behind the plans for the esl. It was envisaged as an annual contest that would pit top European clubs against each other, much like the Champions League. A dozen elite clubs from across the continent, including Arsenal, Juventus and Real Madrid, announced the plan in April 2021. Amid a furious backlash from fans and politicians, they abandoned it a few days later—though their retreat was only temporary. In October Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid resurrected the idea, with a new management team and a public-relations offensive. The esl’s backers also have a case before the European Court of Justice challenging uefa’s monopoly on organising competitive continental football in Europe. A verdict is due early next year.
ESL的 12 名成員，無論表現多糟，都可以留在聯賽中，對習慣現有歐洲足球殘酷精英制度的球迷來說，這種想法是一種詛咒，至少在理論上，任何俱樂部都可以渴望獲得歐冠聯賽資格，而陷入困境球隊，可能需要數年才能擺脫困境。
但對投資者和俱樂部本身的吸引力較小：他們更喜歡能保證他們不斷增加的支出，獲得回報。西班牙兩大國內聯賽的許多俱樂部，在疫情後都苦苦掙扎，以至於2021 年 12 月，他們同意將未來50年8.2%利潤，出售給總部位盧森堡的私募股權公司cvc 。整個夏天，巴塞隆納將其西班牙比賽的25%媒體轉播權，賣給另一家私募股權公司Sixth Street到2047年。俱樂部希望填補多年財務不善所留下的大洞。1月，幾家西班牙俱樂部將重回中東：沙烏地阿拉伯已支付 2.4 億歐元（2.54 億美元），舉辦六屆西班牙年度迷你錦標賽 Supercopa。
參加更多比賽可以籌更多資金，但需要在擁擠日曆中，找到更多空間。國際“友誼賽”或表演賽幾乎被取消，大型錦標賽的資格賽路徑也縮短。從 2024 年開始，俱樂部球員轉去執行國際任務的“國際間歇期”將減少但時間會更長，這樣可以壓縮比賽時間、減少球員出差時間。決定歐冠賽事如歐洲和非洲盃，可以全部安排在同一個夏天，而不是分散在一個四年的周期中。這將騰出一個月的空間，第二個夏天可以舉辦新的、利潤豐厚的錦標賽。“這將是一場硬仗鬥”《足球經濟學》的作者之一西蒙庫珀說。
The esl would have operated along the closed-shop lines familiar to fans of American sports. The 12 founder members of the esl would have been guaranteed permanent places in the competition, no matter how badly they performed. That idea was anathema for many fans used to the cut-throat meritocracy of existing European football, where any club can, at least in theory, aspire to qualify for the Champions League, and where teams stuck in a rut can take years to get out of it.
But it is less attractive for investors and the clubs themselves: they prefer rules that guarantee a return on their ever-increasing outlays. So many clubs in Spain’s top two domestic leagues were struggling after the pandemic that, in December 2021, they agreed to sell 8.2% of profits for the next 50 years to cvc, a Luxembourg-based private-equity firm. Over the summer fc Barcelona sold 25% of the media rights to its Spanish games to Sixth Street, another private-equity firm, until 2047. The club hopes to plug holes left by years of financial mismanagement. And in January several Spanish clubs will be back in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia has paid €240m ($254m) to host six editions of the Supercopa, an annual Spanish mini tournament.
The backlash against the esl has not put off football’s governing bodies, which are keen to launch new formats of their own. fifa and uefa are enmeshed in bitter wrangling over the future of summer tournaments. Although fifa governs the World Cup, which makes up 90% of its revenue, its bosses lament that uefa makes far more money: $14bn during the last World Cup cycle between 2015 and 2018, compared with just $5.7bn for fifa over the same period. That is mainly because of the Champions League. fifa is desperate to diversify, including by creating other competitions. uefa jealously guards its position.
Cramming in more contests would raise more money, but would require administrators to find more space in a crowded calendar. International “friendlies,” or exhibition matches, have been all but scrapped, and qualifying paths for big tournaments shortened. From 2024 the “international breaks”, during which club players are diverted to international duties, are set to be fewer but longer, packing games in while reducing the time players spend travelling. The tournaments which determine continental champions, like the Euros and the African Cup of Nations, could all be scheduled for the same summer, instead of being spread across a four-year cycle. That would free up a month’s space for a new and lucrative tournament every second summer. “There is going to be a fight,” says Simon Kuper, one of the authors of “Soccernomics”, a book on the business side of the game.
足球，無所不在 Football, wall-to-wall
第2，是FIFA在疫情爆發前批准的，加強現有world cup季中賽，在全球範圍內相當於歐洲冠軍聯賽。由日本Soft Bank和沙烏地阿拉伯領軍的財團，提供了令人瞠目結舌的獎金—以換取 49%股份，Soft Bank是喜歡冒險大賭注的日本公司，而沙烏地阿拉伯希望主辦這個賽事。
第3，也是最有可能發生的，是擴大國家聯盟(Nations League)，這是EUFA 2018年引進的賽事，以取代友誼賽。FIFA希望其他洲也採用，並讓最好的球隊在其轄區內每四年舉辦一次“全球國家聯賽(Global Nations League)”。EUFA將邀請南美國家從 2024 年起加入歐洲國家聯盟(European Nations League)，將FIFA排除在外，任何一個計劃，都將推動國家聯盟成為世界盃的直接競爭對手。
世界盃注定要繼續發展。卡達世界盃有32支球隊，是1970年參賽隊的兩倍。由美國、加拿大和墨西哥主辦的2026年將有 48 場比賽，這意味著更多的無希望者(no-hopers)間的比賽—但也會有更大的收入，分配給全球 211 個國家足球聯合會。
Three ideas are kicking about. The first is to stage the World Cup every two years rather than every four. The second, which fifa’s governing council approved shortly before the pandemic, is to beef up an existing mid-season tournament named the Club World Cup, a worldwide equivalent to the Champions League. Eye-popping prize money was to be provided—in exchange for a 49% share—by a consortium led by SoftBank, a Japanese firm with a penchant for big, risky bets, and Saudi Arabia, which hoped to host the resulting tournament.
The third, and the most likely to happen, is an expansion of the Nations League, a tournament introduced in 2018 by uefa in place of friendlies. fifa wants other continents to adopt the format, and for the best teams to stage a “Global Nations League” every four years under its purview. uefa has responded by inviting South American countries to join the European Nations League from 2024, cutting fifa out. Either plan would boost the Nations League as a direct rival to the World Cup.
The World Cup itself is destined to carry on growing. The Qatar tournament features 32 teams, twice as many as played during the 1970s. The 2026 event, hosted by America, Canada and Mexico, will feature 48. That will mean more matches between no-hopers—but will also direct a larger share of the revenue to the world’s 211 national footballing federations.
Meanwhile, bids for the 2030 World Cup are already being prepared. Saudi Arabia, a bitter geopolitical rival of Qatar’s, is keen to host a World Cup of its own. In theory, eligibility criteria should preclude another Middle Eastern country acting as host for the next two tournaments. But Saudi Arabia has hitched its bid to those of Greece and Egypt, in the hope that it will therefore count as European or African. The kingdom says it will pay to build stadiums in both countries. The decision is not due until March 2024. But one lesson of Qatar is that it would be bold to bet against another winter World Cup in an autocratic desert state in the not-too-distant future. In football, as in so much else, money talks.