Saturday, October 18, 2008
Serious About Soccer...
There can be no doubt about it - Costa Rica is serious about their soccer! When it comes up against political corruption, soccer gets the action.
Earlier this year, Costa Rica broke with Taiwan, and officially supported China instead. China has been using its financial muscle to pull other counties to its side in its fight to stop Taiwan from being recognized as a separate country - China still claims Taiwan as part of its republic. Costa Rica succumbed after decades of supporting Taiwan. There was a lot of under the table action going on - money going this way and that.
Specifically, China bought bonds that were used to replace the soccer stadium in San Jose. This is the Saprissas' home stadium, and this is the team that most often represents Costa Rica in international tournaments. So, a lot is at stake. The old stadium was torn down in May, and construction on the new stadium was to begin in November.
Earlier this month, the scandal hit the fan - the public found out about the table. Politicians were embarrassed, and a suit went to the constitutional court to stop the construction. The court ordered a stop while they reviewed the suit. This is when soccer fans said "whoa! wait a minute! We went from an old stadium to a hole in the ground! We need our soccer!" (ok, technically, they said "futbol") There were marches. There were news articles. There were phone calls...
Then the constitutional court broke a record (well, maybe - I don't really know if they did, but this was *fast*). What usually takes 3 months, took less than 2 weeks. The court voted *unanimously* to continue construction!
Costa Rican soccer wins the day!