With the football World Cup looming (a mere 10 days away), everyone is anxious and eager to see their teams perform and do well at the Brazilian outing of this years’ cup. There is a lot at stake this year, including FIFA’s justification for putting on the ‘most expensive’ World Cup to date. Brazilians are livid and fans and tourists are tense to see how the locals respond to foreigners and matches. While off to a rocky start, there are many who are eager and positive about this years’ cup - especially this writer as he wishes victory for his team, Germany. While we wait in baited breath, here are a few key facts about this years’ World Cup that not many may know:
Contesting and controversy surrounding goals and near misses will be a thing of the past with the advent of Goal-line technology. The technology allows the referee to make use of 14 cameras and a mainframe computer as well as a special wrist-band that vibrates to signal and display a ‘Goal’ message.
Protection by Drones and Robots
This really is a technologically driven World Cup, as fans in Rio will be protected by hi-tech drones and robots. Security is a big concern so FIFA have brought out the big guns, so to speak. They will make use of unmanned Israeli drones to monitor crowds and matches. ‘PackBot 510’ robots will be on hand to assist security services – these are supplied by manufacturer ‘iRobot’.
No speeches by FIFA officials
Due to residents and locals not being too happy about the cost of the World Cup and the lack of infrastructure returned to the cities, speeches from FIFA will be kept to a minimum if any at all.
Referees using vanishing spray
Free kicks will be marked by a vanishing spray – a first for this World Cup too. The spray paint which lasts for just a minute will be used to demarcate the spot a free kick is to be taken as well as to draw a ‘ten yard line’ and to be administered by the referee.
Stopped play due to hot weather
FIFA have regulated that referees now have the ability to halt play up to three times a match to allow players to hydrate – this is owing to the blistering heat in some parts of Brazil.
Kick off by a teenager
The first kick of the ball this year will NOT be made by a celebrity or well-known football player; instead it will be made by a paraplegic teenager. How is this possible? The teenager, who is paralyzed from the waist down will make the kick using an exoskeleton which works by mind control. The demonstration serves to show how far this revolutionary technology has come and make the statement that in the very near future wheelchairs will be obsolete. The young man is to stand up out of his wheelchair and walk over to the pitch to make the first kick of this years’ tournament.
Hotel demands made by teams
Team players are often real divas when it comes to demands made. This year serves no different, let’s have a look at some of the demands made by some of the squads:
Uruguay – Silent air conditioning
Portugal – Computer in every room
Algeria – Copy of the Quran in every room
Japan - Jacuzzi in every room
France - Liquid soap not soap bars
Ecuador – Ecuadorian bananas in every room
Simpsons World Cup episode
A special episode of The Simpsons was broadcast on March 30, 2014 dedicated to the World Cup. In this episode we see Homer trying to be an impartial referee while Brazilian gangsters are trying to influence World Cup results. We are not sure whether this is more of a parody or a statement?
World Cup is lucrative
The teams to achieve a winning result takes home a total of $35million while the runners up receive $25million. Every country to participate also receives substantial megamillions for players and also the money that will be earned from players’ kit replicas, merchandising, sponsorship and endorsements. All in all, the entire cup adds up to being a very worthwhile endeavor for all involved, from players to each country’s football governing body. It’s just too bad that the host nation is not being fairly compensated so that they may share in the joy of hosting one of the world’s most exciting sporting tournaments.
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