27 September 2013

Chasing FIFA Youth World Cup Dream

Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin is dreaming of staging the FIFA U-17 or U-20 World Cup in Singapore in 2019.

Mr Zainudin's rationale[1]:

"If we are serious about youth development, I think we need to go for the tournament that is worthy of exciting our young. And that tournament cannot be less than the Youth World Cup.

"We can always aim for Asian Football Confederation or ASEAN Football Federation competitions. But the Youth World Cup is the pinnacle.

"It will leave a long-lasting impression on our young, and they will be excited that football is something they want to look at seriously."
Given the current state of Singapore football and its progress over the past decades, it seems far fetched to think that hosting the FIFA U-17 or U-20 World Cup, or even the infinitely more prestigious FIFA World Cup, will make much difference to the development of Singapore football.
How significant is the FIFA Youth World Cup?
Singapore media hardly noted that the FIFA U-20 World Cup was held a couple of months ago in Turkey.
Even the people in Turkey hardly bothered — only an average of 5,230 turned up to watch the 50 matches before the final and third-place matches. Why does anyone think that it be different in Singapore, unless students are given free passes or are forced to attend?

The reason is obvious — the FIFA U-17 or U-20 World Cup is not the FIFA World Cup, just like the Youth Olympics are not the Olympics.
Furthermore, apart from getting excited watching the Barclays Premier League on TV, most youth are more preoccupied with material pursuits than active sport participation. And unfortunately, football is a team sport requiring a critical mass of reasonably good players at the right time.
If the potential benefits are hazy at best, how will the costs to be justified?
Seven stadiums are needed for the tournament, based on the current format. Apart from the Sports Hub, the remaining six stadiums need to be upgraded.
And after we have spent tons of money to upgrade the stadiums, they will revert to their under-utilised state that they are now.

And not forgetting the other costs of organising the tournament.
We should consider hosting international sports events if and only if the benefits for us are relevant and tangible and far outweigh the costs.

The minister for finance should not write a cheque for any people or organisations to realise their ambition of staging costly mega events that have little meaning to most citizens, or that are quickly forgotten once the events are over.

Let's not repeat the Youth Olympics 2010, which many people wonder why the Government bothered to host at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
1. FAS to Bid for 2019 FIFA Youth World Cup TODAY 25 Sep 2013.

1 comment:

  1. It is time to stop these arseholes from using their positions to seek personal glory under the guise of hosting these mega events using public funds.