Tuesday 25 November 2014

An ugly game - George gives a right Hook to the World Cup

NICK BRAMHILL

Published 29/06/2014 | 02:30

George Hook.
George Hook.

GEORGE Hook says he's so disillusioned at the allegations of corruption surrounding Fifa, he is refusing to watch any of the World Cup.

Fifa, the under-fire global governing body for soccer, is facing accusations of bribery over the bidding process that resulted in the selection of Russia and Qatar as World Cup host countries in 2018 and 2022.

And the veteran Cork-born broadcaster says he's so incensed at the damning revelations, he's even reluctant to discuss the high-profile tournament on his daily radio show on Newstalk.

The outspoken 72-year-old said: "For the first time in my life, I have no interest in the showcase spectacular of the beautiful game. I won't watch a single match or participate in the wheezy fervour that constitutes World Cup excitement.

"Save for the obligatory token mention of the goings-on in Brazil on The Right Hook over the next four weeks, you will not hear me discussing the World Cup.

"It all seems so utterly dysfunctional and hypocritical. The centre-piece of Fifa's
 unending dinner party continues to gorge itself on the fruits of shocking corruption and sleazy back-handers and I am not prepared to be just another cheerleader to he madness.

"That we all continue to buy blindly into this farce is a disheartening testament to our ambivalence to justice and equality."

The rugby pundit also blasted the "hypocrisy" of a fortune being spent on hosting the tournament by a country in which millions of citizens struggle to survive every day.

He continued: "The show goes on in Brazil and the World Cup continues to revel in the mass hysteria of a football-loving planet.

"Except, beneath the glittering new stadia and luxurious pop-up hotels and the carnival atmosphere, an uncomfortable and disturbing reality of life in Brazil is covered over and hidden away.

"Brazil is a country stricken with poverty and crime. Homelessness, gang warfare and disgusting financial inequality dominate its cities and towns. Those who have flourish, while those who have not simply wither and die."

Writing in The Cork News, Hook contrasted the "falsity" of the World Cup to the "honest competition" of the Special Olympics in Limerick earlier this month.

He added: "For three beautiful days, athletes battled disability and opponent in heart-warming displays of courage, skill and bravery.

"There was no grandiose diving to earn dishonest reward, no feigning of injury to hoodwink a referee or racist taunts and abuse from the crowd. It was sport as sport should be - good, honest competition for the joy of participation and humble glory of victory."

Sunday Independent

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