Friday, June 16, 2006


AP is reporting this morning that the Saudi national team has announced that its players will not accept any man-of-the-match awards their players may receive (fat chance) on religious grounds since the award is sponsored by Anhauser Busch, the makers of Budweiser.

It is not the first time that Budweiser, who paid FIFA a flipping great wodge of cash to be a tournament sponsor, have caused controversy at Germany 2006. German organziers were horrified in March when they found out that FIFA intended to restrict food and drink in World Cup stadiums to those products made by official FIFA sponsors. It had never occurred to the Germans that they wouldn't be able to drink their own beer at their own World Cup.

As always, FIFA finds itself in an odd position, caught between its financial instincts to act as a capialist revenue-maximizer and its political instincts, designed to cater to the very large number of third-world members, to act as a centre of quasi-anti-imperialism. Thus, the same organization that condemns clubs' use of foreign players as an "aberration" because it "altered clubs' national identity" has no problem whatoever excluding domestic "foodstuffs" (probably the most accurate description of Budweiser available) at matches in favour of those produced by multinational companies.

Charmingly, FIFA claim not to see a connection here.


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