By VIVIAN BRAGA
We’re now only a month and a couple days away from the World Cup and games have been scheduled, stadiums built, tickets sold and teams determined. The first game will happen on June 12 between Brazil and Croatia and preparations for it continue.
The visuals and expectations for this major event are high and promising but, despite the government’s daily efforts to make it a successful and safe World Cup and all our hopes that the event will thrive, as a Brazilian, I believe it can go wrong in many different aspects.
As of now, four stadiums are completing their delayed construction and, in cities like Manaus and Belo Horizonte, new transportation projects have been cancelled or postponed and won’t be ready by June. Government investments in security aren’t enough to guarantee a safe environment for visitors and, on top of all that, there’s a frustrated and angry Brazilian population demanding for more meaningful changes to the country rather than simply a World Cup.
The inequality between classes, large contrast between public and private education and crime happening at the doorstep of my home were problems I grew up watching in Brazil. At times, it angered me seeing a country with so many improvements to make, investing so much money in an event that will last less than two months.
The past World Cup, which happened in South Africa in 2010, had less than 12 stadiums. So why does Brazil have to build more? The pressure made by FIFA, the organization behind the World Cup, to build these on time made the working conditions horrible, killing several workers.
It has been estimated that this year’s World Cup will cost approximately $30 billion. That is the cost of the three previous World Cup tournaments added together. All this money, if invested in education, health and infrastructure, would have been much more valued by us Brazilians.
While politicians argue that the World Cup is exactly what Brazil needs in order to improve, the situation isn’t so simple. The revenue generated by the games, tourism and shopping won’t necessarily become the budget that will be used for all these improvements. Part of this money will go directly to FIFA and a significant other, into the politicians’ own pockets.
Last year, Brazil was faced with protests that broke out after a rise in bus fare and brought millions of civilians to the streets all over the country. The protests symbolized the dissatisfaction of Brazilians towards the government’s work and their lack of concerns with Brazil’s current social problems. These are still happening on a smaller basis.
Seeing that Brazil has all these issues going on should it really be hosting an event this big? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the World Cup myself and as a true Brazilian I love a good soccer match, but the government’s lack of commitment to our current social problems and focus on this large-scale event could only lead to further disappointment, frustration and revolt from the population.