There isn’t a single World Cup without someone trying to find how FIFA rigged the draw to favor the hosts, Brazil this time, or another popular nation, with Argentina, receiving a rather weak opening group to go through early on.
So what is it this time? The first nation in the tournament, Brazil, was seeded into group A as the top seed. Cafu introduced that nation to everyone by opening the plastic ball and showing the piece of paper. However, the rest of the draw was about Cafu or another player drawing a name from a pot, handing it over to FIFA’s Jerome Valcke. Valcke opens the ball and reveals the name of the drawn nation.
The suspicious part of his behavior was the way he did it: Valcke opens the ball but takes the piece of paper out of the camera’s view, blocked by the podium he and one of the hosts, Fernanda Lima, were standing behind. Valcke is seen doing the same thing again and again – opening a ball, taking the paper under the top of the podium, and then coming out with the name of the nation that fits the next slot.
Lima read out each team’s spot in the group, which isn’t of great consequence, and only decided the order of the group stage matches. According to the theory, because her part doesn’t involve anything that actually means something to the nations, there was no need to fix it as well, and we can see her reading out the group allocations without taking the paper underneath.
What do FIFA have to gain? Brazil aren’t in a very tough group, but they are likely to face either the Netherlands or Spain in the round of 16, quite early for a mega clash such as this for a team that has been knocked out of the last two tournaments in the quarterfinals by European nations.
Maybe it’s about creating bigger matches- The England – Italy – Uruguay group, Spain vs Netherlands, Portugal vs Germany, early on. But no matter what, the weird seeing system would have given us a group of death and at least two very big matches to enjoy. There’s a chance FIFA messed this one up by way of presentation, but an actual fraud? We’ll need a bit more than this video.