Raul Freitas




48 teams, 104 games, and 16 host cities in 3 different countries, (2 in Canada, 3 in Mexico, and 11 in the US).

Essentially an American world cup event, considering all of the elimination rounds and the finals will be played on US soil, excepting for a couple of Round of 16 games, which will be split between Mexico City and Vancouver.
Toronto will host 6 games in the Round of 32, which will be a delight for the fans. I guess it’s better than no World Cup games at all but falls way short of really “hosting”. I honestly knew nothing of the upcoming tournament until recently, (today), and came to realize that this new format has completely changed not only the manner in which the tournament will play out, but the way the games will be played as well. It’s a huge departure from the traditional format, and I can guess there were a lot of politics involved. I know that FIFA President Fantino made many changes in order to be reelected, especially the adding of an additional 16 teams, thus providing many more countries a chance at the world stage and providing him with precious votes. I’m also guessing this will be a format for the future considering how much money it takes to organize such a herculean event. The only thing is that it makes it quite impossible for most people to take part in the whole event. Even in the United States, considering the fact that games will be played all around the country, mostly in coastal areas, there’s no way anyone could follow the whole process, (at least us mere mortals).

Toronto will be the stage for six matches, which will be among the events of the Summer, but I can’t help but think about the many who have more pressing issues to deal with. Sure, money will come into the city, but the pockets it will line will be but a few, in the great scheme of things. I’m not sure how much public money will be involved, but a figure of 400 million is being put forward and we know very well that this number will rise, probably dramatically. As always, by the time the real figures are revealed, it will be too late to do anything about it. The City of Toronto page referring to the event paints the usual pretty picture of more jobs, cultural events and cash rolling in, but that’s expected. The world is all too familiar with the promises of riches and opportunities for all when it comes to events of this size. Corruption and pipe dreams are the staple and I’m absolutely convinced the same will go for the costs and benefits of the six matches played in Toronto. At best it will be a distraction welcomed by many. That’s what we’re used to and that’s what will be served up. A temporary spike in many people’s Dopamine levels will be a reprieve from the colossal problems facing the people of Toronto and practically every other city in the world. The best thing to do is enjoy the little that’s coming, because that’s all. The rest will just keep dragging on, until they bring in the next distraction.

Fiquem bem,

Raul Freitas/MS


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