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Sunday 24 January 2010

José Carlos Vaz e Dias


Last Thursday was a bitter day for the Brazilian owners of commercial establishments and party organizers. While pubs, bars, restaurants owners and organizers of open spaces in urban areas as well as in rural communities were setting their plans for big gatherings in June to watch the 2010 World Cup of Football, they have learned about “FIFA REGULATIONS FOR PUBLIC VIEWING EXHIBITIONS” and the new unexpected fees.

The new FIFA Regulation sets the requirement for commercial establishments to obtain a Public Viewing License to exhibit the 2010 World Cup and pay a fee of approximately US$ 2,000 to FIFA (www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/publicviewing/index.html).

This means that bars, pubs and organized gathering at public spaces from all over the world less South Africa will need to pay when staging the 2010 World Cup, thereby increasing their costs.

The FIFA Regulation angered the Brazilians, since it is a national tradition to watch the matches in clubs, pubs, cinemas, restaurants and/or open spaces. Further, these fees resemble the hated compulsory fee charged by the local Copyright Central Officer for Collection and Distribution (ECAD) against establishment owners that broadcast music in public.

Maybe FIFA authorities do not know much about Brazil, but the admission fee charged to view the games in public spaces are widespread and include areas such as the slams in several cities, where the admission fee support the given free food and drink. The local Indians and the “caboclos” living in the remote areas in the Amazon Forest also pay to watch the World Cup. The admission fees also guarantee free lunch, drinks and, most importantly, the electrical generator to allow the TV sets to be on.

As for my own viewpoint, as a regular citizen who loves football and that generally go to pubs with my English, Americans and Dutch friends in Rio de Janeiro, I certainly think that I will end up paying more this year for the beer and the food, in case the enforcement of such FIFA Regulation takes on.

The FIFA Regulation seems to be an attempt to reduce the ambush marketing and the free ride practices that take place during the public exhibition of the Work Cup in several countries. In Brazil, It is most frequent to see local brewery and foodstuff companies sponsoring public viewing, thereby ignoring the existence of FIFA Partners, Sponsors and National Supporters. However, it is unfair that a great majority of the viewers will have to pay extra money for FIFA to implement any attack to free riders.

Legally speaking, the Regulation is not clear in several aspects and raises question, as follows:

1) Commercial establishments that are required to obtain the license and pay the fee for the public exhibition are not well defined. While Paragraph 4 of Article 1 of the Regulation establishes that public viewing event for commercial purposes are those realized at commercial establishments and open air sponsored by companies that are not FIFA Partners and Sponsors (it does not enlist pubs, clubs and bars that do not charge specific admission fees or practice sponsorship activities to support the event), Paragraph 3 sets out that commercial establishment charging a direct or indirect admission fee and/or gain any kind of benefit for staging the event are entitled to seek the license and pay the fees to FIFA.

Since pubs, clubs and restaurants will certainly benefit in any sense for the exhibition of the World Cup, they would require the license. Wrong or right?

2) Television broadcast in Brazil is a public concession granted to TV Companies as it is in various countries. Any charges for broadcasting are permitted solely to TV companies specifically authorized, such as those rendering pay per view services or essentially pay-television operators.

3) The World Cup is about performance of the best national teams and the famous players. Therefore, FIFA is the one that needed to pay extra fees for the exploitation of image rights of the players. not the population where the “crackers” were raised. This statement expresses the general feelings of the Brazilians about the Regulation.

Therefore, Brazilian businessmen are calling for the illegality of the FIFA Regulation.

As one may see, much discussion on the FIFA Regulation down here in Brazil is yet to come, as well as in other Latin American countries (especially those who have qualified for the 2010 World Cup), such as Argentina, Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay.

José Carlos Vaz e Dias

José Carlos Vaz e Dias