The World Cup has started today. Football enthusiasts are really ecstatic about this important event, and people who don’t care much about football (like me), well, they usually don’t care but since it is an international event you can't avoid hearing about it.
This time the Brazil world cup comes in an awkward time. Between political problems in the middle east and wars everywhere, it is competing for coverage with news about Syria where the civil war is still raging on and have spilled into Iraq where the political system seems to be disintegrating. And while it seems to be an opportunity for the world to rise above political problems in the spirit of sportsmanship, it only served to draw attention to the political and social problems in Brazil.
On the level of games played, I'm no expert, but everyone seems to be discontent with the performance of whichever team they support and so far it has been disappointing even tho it just started. Even the opening event seems to have not lived up to the hype and anticipation it generated.
In our region, where hardly any Arab county qualified for the world cup, the hype is even more feverish, leading to the question of why it is so? I think in other places of the world where there’s a large range of things to do, you can choose to not care about such an international event, however in a our region and especially in a small place like Bahrain where you don’t have much to do for fun you can't make that choice.
While the insanity this year has not lived up to the level seen in South Africa, it is still noteworthy. Maybe people need something like the world cup to show them that people around the world live and can play together to make them forget about the horrible things around the world. But with the commercialization of the event and its coverage even this aspect of sports is losing some of it's value because now the poor cannot afford to even watch it on TV since it is only broadcasted by private networks who hold exclusive rights to show it.
Football was considered the poor man's sport at some time, but now between clubs who buy players with obscene amounts of money (more than the annual budget of a small state) and networks who buy exclusive rights to show games, maybe it's time the poor invented a new sport.