Hello there! Are you an “emerging economy” supposedly poised on verge of world domination? Do your leaders promise you that global recognition of your superiority over other peoples is just around the corner? That pretty soon everyone else will notice that they had no past or any culture and drop their way of life which has been evolving in their countries for literally millions of years and subscribe to yours? Was your economy going great guns and suddenly petered out like it was Chinese knock-off of a popular phone? Is paying a bribe as regular an activity in your life as say, eating? Does a strangely popular political party in your country have a carefully worded and/or openly expressed animosity about an ethnic and/or sexual minority? Are you currently in the process of electing and/or have elected someone whose leadership style can be politely interpreted as “strong?” Do you think the money your country will spend on hosting a useless international meet of healthy grown-ups competing with each other for a gold medal that you can’t even sell in the open market to prove some point is better spent on solving more pressing domestic problems? Are you afraid of answering any of the above questions honestly because doing that might invite persecution and/or physical intimidation tacitly sanctioned by the state?
If your answer to all the above questions is yes, then, read on!
(Note: If you’re an average citizen of such a state and you spend all your days just getting around the government apparatus, then please note that you are better off not reading any of this. Ignorance is bliss, remember! What we have to say is really of no use to you, anyway! This guide is basically for powerful political leaders, oligarchs, billionaires, and/or someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to monetize their connections in the government. If you still want to read it, then don’t blame us for the large men knocking on your door right now. Go ahead, they just want to talk to you. Don’t be afraid. All this will still be here if you get to. . . I mean when you come back! Now go, don’t keep them waiting.Seriously.)
Hey, powerful people! Nice of you to join us! Now, ask yourself the question, do you like money? Do you want to increase your power and/or sphere of influence? Are you finally ready to become the sort of person your country’s government apparatus caters too? Does the oppressive regime in your country want to seek international legitimacy?
Then, boy, do we have a guide for you!
Now that we’ve got all the pleasantries out of the way, let’s get down to business.
Firstly, I hope you’re not one of the people who think of corruption as a bad thing. Don’t buy into leftist propaganda! Those people have no idea what they’re talking about. One man’s corruption is another man’s motivation! Look, everyone needs motivation, right? Some people need their palm greased. Some people need their peckers swollen. And some people need a boot on their back. Find out what’s the right fit for you!
Listen, if you thought the people in your country were corrupt, they got nothing on members of international sporting bodies. Corrupt officials are attracted to sporting bodies like pesky western journalists are attracted to sectarian conflicts. So we begin by determining which sporting event you want to host in your country. Be careful in making your choice. If you want to start small, you should look at associations like ITF or the IAF. They’re loyalty can be purchased for a small amount of money. However, they don’t have much potential for you to make something on the side. These events don’t hold much cache because even third grade tin-pot dictatorships with terrible human rights record are able to host them. And they don’t really attract much media attention. They’re okay for mid-level oppressive regimes who have managed to keep the public numbers of their murdered dissidents into the hundreds.
If you’re not that oppressive but just want your citizens to feel patriotic pride while you make lots of money, you can go for something like the CWG or the Asian Games. They’re not that difficult to get and by hosting them you can pretend that your banana republic has finally “arrived,” whatever that means.
However, if you’re a big oppressive regime with a history of tyranny, violence, oppression, genocide, no freedom of speech etc., you need to think big. You should set your sights on something like the FIFA world cup or one of the Olympics. Not only do they attract lots of attention, they’re big money-spinners. And there is almost no barrier of entry. Hey, they even allowed Hitler to host one of them, so you’re pretty much pre-approved.
After you’ve decided which sporting event you’d like to host, turn your attention to their local body. You can either become the head of that body yourself, or better yet, appoint a dispensable sycophant whom you can throw under the bus if someone “falsely” dares to accuse you of benefiting from hosting the said event.
After your sycophants “election,” put him in-charge of finding countries sympathetic to your bid. Sure, not all of them will be convinced. You might need to cajole some countries to support you. Find pliable member-countries and dangle some carrots in front of them. You might even need to give some of them money upfront. Don’t hesitate! Think of it as an investment in your future.
Once you have enough support behind you, send a couple of more “senior officials” in an non-official capacity for a “friendly chat” with members of the sport’s governing body. Nothing to see here, just a couple of average joes talking about how much hypothetical money would have to change hands for a hypothetical country to host a hypothetical international sporting event, hypothetically. Once you “attain” their loyalty, the heads of these organizations are more loyal than your own mother! You can make them do anything you want! Like pretending you don’t have a terrible human rights record or doing PR for your oppressive regime. You can even make them agree to using a city famous for it’s beach resorts that has never seen a speck of snow in thousands of years as the host of the winter olympics!
Once those people are taken care off, it’s time to buy some good PR in the international press. Get some international lifestyle magazine to cover your glamarous first lady (if you have one) or get one of those useless contrarian magazines to write a long piece about how the fact that the government in your country is oppressive and corrupt is a western myth and that limited freedom is actually good for your people. The next step is to put a friendly face on your regime! If you’re the sort of person whose image is used by superstitious people to ward of evil, use one of your trusted, harvard educated, ironic humour spewing lieutenants to do your dirty work for you. Get them to appear on some comedian hosted talk show on either side of the Atlantic so that he can charm all the “cool kids.” Nothing will get you more street cred ‘on the internet’ than getting Jon Stewart to say nice things about you.
Now that you’ve got good “buzz,” it’s time to go public with your bid. Sure, you’ll face some opposition. However, it’s not really hard to drown out the noise made by strongly worded op-eds and do-gooder protests if you have enough momentum. As long as you keep greasing the right palms, no will will really care about any of that.
The real fun comes in after you win the bid. Make sure every contract you hand out gives you a cut of the profits. From building stadiums to procuring toilet paper, there is nothing that won’t make you richer. All you have to do is pay a high markup price for everything. Make sure your own people put in the highest bids. You funnel the government's money into their bank accounts, they’ll funnel a percentage of that into yours. Hey, if taxpayers didn’t want you to siphon off their hard earned money, they wouldn’t have paid any taxes.
Now, some of the consequences of this will be that not everything will be of proper quality. No worries, you got to compromise somewhere! So bridges might collapse, the living quarters might remain unfinished, and some choosy people might complain about insects in their food, but hey, that’s a good thing! All this drama keeps the international press busy and they will focus on the crumbling infrastructure instead of your human rights abuses. It’s what asshole consultants call “a win-win.”
If you’re still reading this, then you’re all set to host your own international sporting event. However, please remember that this guide has been provided to you with the explicit understanding that a percentage of the profits will be given to the writer as a, you know, token of your “appreciation,” if you know what’s good for you.
(The writer of this piece is a popular third world dictator whose hobbies include oppressing people, invading neighbouring countries and shirtless horseback riding.)