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28 février 2006

Thanks...Here's a Ball

Balls like this are consolation prizes for the performers; model Heidi Klum is notBalls like this are consolation prizes for the performers;

More than 12,000 volunteer performers signed up for the opening gala of the soccer World Cup and practiced for months. When the event was cancelled, authorities made sure to thank them for their troubles...with a ball.

It was supposed to be a mega event to open one of the globe's biggest sporting events, featuring stars like
Peter Gabriel and Jesseye Norman. But then FIFA, world soccer's governing body, suddenly pulled the plug in January. The official reason, according to FIFA, was that the lavish opening ceremony to be held in Berlin's Olympic Stadium would damage the grass on the field before the first game on June 13 between Brazil and Croatia.

That left thousands of dancers and other performers who had answered calls to volunteer for the glitzy production planned by Austrian artist
André Heller, out in the cold. They weren't out of a pay check, since they'd been volunteers anyway, but they'd wasted hours and hours of painstaking practice. FIFA promised recompense in some form or another.

A month and a half later, it's been decided. FIFA will mail out about 12,000 soccer balls to the spurned performers.
It's claimed that grass is the reason the big show was nixed Now these aren't just any soccer balls; these are the official Adidas soccer balls of the World Cup, on which will be printed "vielen Dank!" ("Thanks a lot!").

According to the Tagesspiegel newspaper, there was much debate within FIFA as to what the redress would look like. Many preferred something cultural, such as special showings of the circus show
"Afrika, Afrika," also produced by Heller.

"That solution seemed to us to be too complicated,"
Markus Siegler, a FIFA spokesman, told the paper. But he insists FIFA didn't get off on the cheap, although it might seem a soccer ball is pretty paltry payback for months of rehearsing for a show that never was to be. "Of course we negotiated a reduced price," he said. "But the gift still cost FIFA 200,000 euros."

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