How Mega-Events Capture Their Hosts: Event Seizure and the World Cup 2018 in Russia

Martin Müller

University of Zurich

June 9, 2015

This paper develops the notion of “event seizure” to better understand how mega-events, and the elites associated with them, take possession of host cities and societies – of development plans, funds and legislation – and impose their priorities on cities and citizens. It illustrates how event seizure plays out in the preparations for the Football World Cup 2018 in Russia, which is on course to become the most expensive World Cup ever with a total cost of about USD 20 billion. The paper examines three different dimensions of event seizure. First, infrastructural seizure, where event-related infrastructure, particularly sports venues, crowd out infrastructure that serves wider urban needs. Second, financial seizure, where a close circle of political and business elites benefits from state funding, while the public underwrites cost overruns. Third and last, legal seizure, where the event introduces exceptional legislation, infringing citizen rights and compromising due oversight of event preparations.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 33

Keywords: Russia, World Cup, mega-events, planning, mega-projects

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Date posted: December 17, 2013 ; Last revised: June 10, 2015

Suggested Citation

Müller, Martin, How Mega-Events Capture Their Hosts: Event Seizure and the World Cup 2018 in Russia (June 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2368219 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2368219

Contact Information

Martin Müller (Contact Author)
University of Zurich ( email )
Winterthurerstr. 190
Department of Geography
Zürich, 8057

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