Dankzij de Bavaria-Blondies hebben we een inkijkje gekregen en wat ons te wachten staat als Nederland in 2018 het WK organisteert. Ook de Engelse krant The Guardian dook in de Bavaria-zaak en ontdekte 56 speciale Fifa-gerechtshoven Zuid Afrika
The Johannesburg magistrates' court is the sort of unloved municipal building whose corridors smell of damp and bureaucracy.
Enter this structure at present, however, and you are greeted by large signs proclaiming the "Fifa World Cup Courts", directing you to the courtrooms which have been specially established to deal swiftly with anyone besmirching the good name of this football tournament. Unsure of when the next case is up? Then do take your seat in the "Fifa World Cup Court Waiting Room".
Keen to dispel its crime-ridden image before the tournament, South Africa agreed to the establishment of 56 World Cup Courts across the country, staffed by more than 1,500 dedicated personnel, including magistrates, prosecutors, public defenders and interpreters.
The most high-profile cases have been the two Zimbabweans who robbed some foreign journalists on a Wednesday, were arrested on the Thursday, and began 15-year jail sentences on the Friday; and the Dutch women who wore orange dresses to Soccer City stadium and were charged with "ambush marketing" for Bavaria beer. The ladies appeared before Johannesburg magistrates last week – despite their arrest being denounced as "disproportionate" by the Netherlands foreign minister and an embassy official – and were bailed to return on Tuesday on criminal charges which carry a maximum penalty of six months.
LA Law it is not. With the exception of the Dutch causes célèbres, a typical case features a Soweto man who stole two cans of Coke, two mini cans of soda water, and one mini can of lemonade from a Soccer City corporate hospitality lounge. He admitted guilt and paid a fine.
For all its superficial silliness, though, it is the Dutch case that touches on the most troubling issues. Placed on South Africa's statute book in 2006 was something called the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Special Measures Act. The women in orange are accused of contravening two sections of this law, namely the parts that prohibit "unauthorised commercial activities inside an exclusion zone" and "enter[ing] into a designated area while in unauthorised possession of a commercial object".
What is so radical about the legislation, though, is the fact that it makes such activity a criminal rather than civil offence.
In South Africa, alas, that horse has bolted, and it is difficult not to conclude the government was either browbeaten by Fifa or displayed an effectively unprincipled willingness to please. After all, under pre-existing laws, it would have been possible for Fifa to sue the Dutch beer company for what would amount to a compensatory royalty.
With the two offenders threatened with six months jail, however, all Fifa will tell the Guardian is that it is "considering" suing Bavaria. Yet if it truly believes it has suffered economic detriment, then why wouldn't it? It appears that instead of the hassle of launching its own litigation, Fifa would far rather see local law agencies enforce its rapacious will through the criminal courts, at whatever preposterous cost to the host nation.
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