Sochi continues the rise of the non-democratic host nations
As a characteristically poker-faced Vladimir Putin escorted Formula Ones Teflon?coated ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone and the king of Bahrain around his Sochi Formula One track, which weaves Barberino Factory Outlet Prada in and out of the venues left behind by Februarys $51bn Winter Olympics, it was tempting to view it as the future of sport in microcosm.
Fringed by palm trees and a giant funfair, the first Formula One race in the subtropical Black Sea resort was designed to be exhibit one in Authentic Prada Gauffre Putins Bicester Village London Prada case that hosting the Winter Games was a genuine attempt to put Sochi on the map and not a vainglorious exercise in self-promotion.
But given the extent to which the global sporting calendar has tipped away from western democracies and towards a loose group of authoritarian regimes prepared to exchange huge sums of money for the nation building gold dust they provide, Ecclestones travelling circus C not for the first time C seemed like an outrider for the rest of sport.
Surveying the list of host cities for looming major events not only brings to mind Mrs Mertons oft-quoted quip to Debbie McGee, but also the Fifa general secretary Jr?me Valckes appraisal of the best place to host its cash cow: I will say something which is crazy, but less democracy is sometimes better for organising a World Cup.
The argument about the direction of travel for sports major events has risen to the top of the agenda again in recent weeks given Oslos withdrawal from the race to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The Norwegian decision, for a combination of political and pragmatic reasons, provoked an unusually angry response from the International Olympic Committee and left Almaty in Kazakhstan and Beijing in China as the only remaining candidates.
Stockholm in Sweden, Krakow in Poland and Lviv Authentic Prada Gauffre in Ukraine had all withdrawn bids in recent months. Before that, potentially strong bids from St Moritz, Switzerland, and Munich, Germany, were dropped after being rejected by voters in referendums.
There are issues peculiar to the Winter Olympics, which will go to Pyeongchang in South Korea in 2018. Some wonder whether it remains attractive enough to justify the criticism and scrutiny that all bids must endure.
Despite the IOCs success in refreshing the sporting programme, introducing slopestyle and half pipes to make it feel less fusty, there remains the fundamental problem of an ever?shrinking list of suitable venues willing to host it.
The alarm bells over Are Prada Handbags Cheaper In Italy the 2022 Winter Olympics race should set off wider concerns. Without political buy-in, Olympic bids dont leave the drawing board and with public sentiment hardening against the hosting of so-called mega-events, fewer politicians will Black Prada Chain Bag be willing to risk going out on a limb. Whereas they used to be seen as a potential vote winner, shrouded in optimism and feelgood glow, the taint of the bidding race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and the millstone of the $51bn Sochi price tag has seen the public mood sour.
The large-scale protests in the buildup to the Brazil World Cup, while more complex in their genesis than many made out prada replica handbags, can also be seen in this context C politicised populations are no longer prepared to believe that the huge investment required to host a major sporting event is necessarily for their benefit.
The IOC can argue until it is blue in the face about the need to differentiate between the operational budget for the Games (in Sochis case around $2bn) and optional infrastructure investment on top of that. But most have long since stopped listening and regard the two figures as at best overlapping and at worst indistinguishable.
The headlines that followed the Norwegian decision also played into the worst preconceptions most have about the IOC. Included in the 800-page technical manual supplied to bidders was a stipulation that IOC members should meet the king before the opening ceremony.
Other suggestions were variously that the IOC president should be welcomed ceremoniously on the runway when he arrived, that a fully stocked bar should be available to members throughout, that meeting rooms should be kept at 20 degrees and that all IOC members should be greeted with a smile.
IOC insiders suspect some aggressive briefing from the Norwegian politicians who chose to turn their backs on the Games, insisting that all of these so-called demands were suggestions by previous host cities. Either way, they are there in black and white.
And they play effortlessly into the view most have of the blazer-clad classes who sweep into town for major sporting events and their ever?expanding family of siblings (from Youth Olympic Games to Under-17 World Cups). Thomas Bach, the IOC president, is promising a fundamental overhaul of the bidding process and selection criteria as part of his 2020 Vision process. But will it be radical enough to restore public confidence?
Among other things, he has promised to make it easier and cheaper to bid and to be less prescriptive in terms of IOC demands. He will come up with firm recommendations next month that will be voted on at a meeting in Monaco (where else?) in December.
We want to invite potential bidding cities to tell us how they see Olympic Games fitting best into their social, economical, ecological, and sports environments, said Bach recently.
But one of the key problems is that for several years the IOC has been saying the Games must be sustainable, compact and environmentally sound while doing the opposite. This time they must match words with action.
If not the contagion is likely to spread to the race for the 2024 summer Games. On the surface, it should be a competitive one: the US is preparing a bid, while Paris may yet enter the Authentic Prada Bag For Sale Ph race and Germany is deciding between Berlin and Hamburg. South Africa may also bid.
But the reticence of Alfons H?rmann, the president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, this week is ample evidence of the new nervousness that has infected sports administrators and politicians alike. The worst option would be that we firmly lay down on a city and its citizens, the project will not be supported, he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. A second Munich must not happen to us.
Fifa, meanwhile, is in a different league altogether. Its marketing chief, Thierry Weil, highlighted its imperviousness to criticism at a Stamford Bridge sports business summit last week when he said it didnt really matter where the World Cup was played as long as the TV pictures were good.
The players have to reach the tournament, you have to fill the stadiums, you have to have a great atmosphere and the pictures you send out to the rest of the world have to be fantastic. Where its played at the end of the day doesnt make a big difference.
The Fifa World Cup bandwagon has gone from South Africa to Brazil Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Shoes Sale and will now head C a long awaited report from Fifas ethics chief Michael Garcia permitting C for Russia and Qatar. No matter how low Authentic Prada Leather Handbag Fifas corporate reputation sinks, its commercial stock remains supernaturally high.
Yet the long-term effects of a complex brew of factors that have Authentic Prada Bags For Cheap led the worlds biggest sporting events to become baubles of choice for authoritarian regimes looking to announce their place in the world, or reinforce their standing in it, will continue to have ramifications long after Sepp Blatter has finally given up his vice-like grip on power.