Posts Tagged ‘Sócrates’

Brazil WCup Soccer Murals

The 2014 World Cup finals start tomorrow and I can’t wait. I can’t wait to watch the beautiful game, as played by the footballers of 32 nations across the globe—without forgetting about the dirty business the FIFA games have become.

At least that much the Economist gets right. But, not surprisingly, for the editors—”deep-dyed internationalists,” as they see themselves—it’s all about the benefits of globalization on the game of football, which are only hampered by the corruption surrounding FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Nothing, however, about the corporate sponsors of the tournament and the conditions in Brazil that led one of the residents of the Copa do Povo (People’s Cup) flash camp to conclude, “The World Cup is for those in helicopters.”

That’s certainly true for the tiny group of people running—and profiting from—the World Cup. They’ll certainly be crisscrossing the city and arriving at their luxury boxes in the stadia by helicopter. The millions of the rest of us will be watching the matches on television, looking forward to being witness to the unpredictable moments of footballing magic (and, inevitably, frustration and agony) individuals and teams will certainly offer us.

But what would a different World Cup look like? As it turns out, Brazil offers an alternative in its own history, in the form of one of its own brilliant footballers. No, not Pelé. I’m thinking of Sócrates (Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira was his full name), who was the captain of the Selecão and of Corinthians and the leader of the Corinthians Democracy movement. (He died in 2011.)

Eric Cantona presents the story of Sócrates’ attempt to create an alternative to dirty business and to practice democracy within the beautiful game: