Friday 01 July 2022

MPs demand answers on ‘secretive’ Dutch World Cup bid

MPs from across the political spectrum are demanding to see the Dutch bid book to host the 2018 World Cup, following revelations that officials have made a number of far-reaching pledges.

RTL news says it has seen the top-secret documents and has photocopied several sections. The Netherlands and Belgium have made a joint bid to stage the event.
Among the measures which Dutch officials have agreed to are a two kilometre zone around every stadium in which no advertising or trading is allowed by companies which are not Fifa partners. This means, for example, the Heineken music hall and fast food outlets may have to change their names.
In South Africa shops around the stadiums were only allowed to sell products from Coca Cola and McDonalds and non-official souvenirs were not allowed to combine the South African flag, the words South Africa or the date 2010 with any mention of the World Cup


Officials have also agreed that all Fifa officials will pay no taxes during their stay. In addition, the head of Fifa, currently Sepp Blatter, will have a separate lane on the roads reserved for him when he travels from stadium to stadium.
The Netherlands has also agreed to ‘bear all costs in relation to security’ and to offer Fifa indemnity from any claims. RTL puts the cost of the extra security at some €200m.
The document outlining commitments on marketing and the World Cup brand states all commercial events surrounding the World Cup will be prohibited unless approved by Fifa.
For example, tickets cannot be used in promotional events and hospitality packages without Fifa approval. Ambush marketing, such as the Dutch dress campaign staged by Bavaria in South Africa, will be ‘prohibited by law’.
The Netherlands has also agreed to give ‘special powers’ to the police to enforce the bans.
VVD MP Helma Neppérus said there are a lot of questions which now need to be answered. Parliament gave its full backing to the bid without seeing the documents. The bid book does have ministerial approval.
‘What is key now is that the Netherlands is not managed by Fifa,’ Neppérus said.
Research by the SEO institute for the economic affairs ministry in February said at best the World Cup would generate €400m for the Netherlands. In a worst-case scenario staging the event will actually cost the country over €1bn and the most probable outcome is a €150m loss.
For the RTL photocopies click here and here. The documents are in English.

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