We have all seen the massive street protests that have erupted throughout Brazil in the run up to the 2014 World Cup. Protesters have criticised the excessive spending on the competition and the corruption involved – all amidst government austerity measures. Public sector workers in particular have seen health, education, and transport budgets cut, while £11 billion have been spent on the international football tournament. And up to 200,000 people have been forced to move in order to make way for building projects that will doubtlessly benefit the rich a lot more than the poor.
Public transport projects were meant to be the main legacy of the World Cup, but only 10% have been completed, and the stadium in Brasilia – which no big team is interested in buying after the tournament – cost £600 million. A metro strike has hit Sao Paolo, and has seen some strikers fired and others violently suppressed.
Police strikes meant that some riots have been left unchecked, and the government has sent in the army and National Guard as a result, killing dozens of people in the process. More than 20,000 people took to the streets amid calls for a general strike, and banners read “Na Copa vai ter luta” (the World Cup will have protests).
Yet another kick in the teeth for Brazilians is that ticket prices will be far too expensive for most Brazilians, and the new stadiums have been positioned outside the cities in many cases (like in Recife, where it is found 20km away). On top of these issues, Brazilian workers have died whilst undertaking construction projects, and the blame has been aimed firmly at FIFA and its unrealistic deadlines.
The plan seems to be to ensure that no protesters can enter within a two-kilometre radius of the grounds. And, if the media manages to draw focus away from the protests, many Brazilians may also be distracted by their well-known passion for football.
Sepp Blatter’s FIFA, meanwhile, will surely continue to turn a blind eye to the 1,200 slave-wage migrants who have died building stadia in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. But, if protests in Brazil manage to affect this year’s tournament, increased scrutiny may indeed fall on Qatar and force FIFA to act.
Information adapted by Oso Sabio from http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup-2014/world-cup-2014-public-anger-3618122#ixzz33LVY0QVH