Too much democracy can be a hindrance when organizing a World Cup, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday. ...
"When you have a very strong head of state who can decide, as maybe Putin can do in 2018...that is easier for us organizers than a country such as Germany....where you have to negotiate at different levels."
FIFA president Sepp Blatter then told the audience that he was relieved that hosts Argentina won the 1978 World Cup, which was held under an oppressive military government.
"I remember my first World Cup where I was directly involved was the one in Argentina and I would say I was happy Argentina won," he said.
"This was a kind of reconciliation of the public, of the people of Argentina, with the system, the political system, the military system at the time."
Well, I'm so happy for FIFA that they were able to organise the Argentina World Cup without the hassle of having to deal with all those people. How nice that a brutal authoritarian government smoothed the way for an international sporting event which took place while detainees were being held incognito and tortured just down the road.
By the way, see these two great posts from the Unredacted blog of the National Security Archive on Argentina '78. The first of them notes that human rights abuses did ease off during the time that the eyes of the world were on the country (which is not the same as saying that holding the tournament there was a good idea). The second details then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger predicting that Argentina will win the World Cup and giving his support to the military junta:
We have followed events in Argentina closely. We wish the new government well. We wish it will succeed. We will do what we can to help it succeed.
We are aware that you are in a difficult period. It is a curious time, when political, criminal and terrorist activities tend to merge without any clear separation. We understand you must establish authority.
Soccer: Less democracy makes for an easier World Cup - Valcke (Reuters)
Also. What Otto said.