By SOSSI ESSAJANIAN
All eyes will be on soccer (called “football” around the world) this summer as the World Cup Finals are held in South Africa from June 11 to July 11. The event is a month-long tournament that is played by men’s national teams that are part of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA). The World Cup takes place in a different host country every four years and has been played since 1930.
Not everyone is excited about the games. Thousands living in South Africa’s unofficial houses or shacks have been protesting their forced removal by the African National Congress, South Africa’s governing party, to make room for the $450 million World Cup stadium in the city of Durban and for the games in other cities in South Africa. In a 2009 Democracy Now! interview, Reverend Mavuso Mbhekiseni, a member of the Rural Network in South Africa, described what was happening. “So, by building these stadiums, they are moving people away from the cities and away from their original places, even in rural areas, because they want to build malls, big malls. They want to build freeways, so that, to us, this World Cup is a mass eviction [a forced removal from one’s home] of poor people.”
Check out this resource:
Although football is a popular sport around the world, it is not as popular in the United States. The arguments as to why this is are many. The 2006 movie Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos explores these issues through the short history of the North American Soccer League.