A few years back, when I first learned that the greatest sporting event in the world would be coming to South Africa, I went into ecstasy. I still remember exactly where I was at that particular moment because I almost fell of my chair, literally! I saw the decision to finally bring the cup to Africa as a great launch pad for the increased international recognition and popularity of football in Africa. I also saw it as a huge financial and economic bolster and a life time opportunity for future African players and football associations. My enthusiasm didn’t last long, the closer the tournament start date approached, the more I learned about the inner workings of FIFA. I learned about what South Africa was putting on the line, what it was getting back and ultimately, who was set to benefit from the tournament.
The stroke of it all came when I learned that squatters and homeless people were being kicked out of various towns to make the city look polished for the tourists. In addition, FIFA had forced the South African government to draft, pass and register (fifty six) FIFA laws on all cities where the world cup would be hosted. This sounds like a joke right? Unfortunately it isn’t. During the 2010 world cup, two Zimbabwe natives were arrested on a Wednesday, taken to the FIFA court on Thursday and handed a 15 year jail sentence and commenced serving their sentence on the Friday. All this was because they stole from a foreign journalist during the world cup. Thoughts of the atrociousness of a corporate organization having its own court giving sentences to civilians was enough for me to boycott the 2010 South Africa world cup after I had spent over 2 years saving for the event.
Now, if you’ve been closely following the events in Brazil this year, you’ll have noticed that the country is not really in a party mood. Tensions are currently very high and the people have taken to the streets in protest of the world cup being held in Brazil. Brazilians are crying foul, over $30 billion will be spent on the world cup when 13 million Brazilians don’t have enough food to eat every day. A 40,000 capacity stadium has been built in Manaus for $270 million; the stadium will only be used for four games after which it will rot (just like the ones in South Africa) as Manaus is a small remote area with one of the smallest populations in Brazil. Less than five years after being built for the South African World Cup, one of Africa’s most beautiful stadiums (built for $600 million) now sits empty and forgotten in the Atlantic Ocean breezes. Thus, Before you watch the first game today, take a minute and learn what FIFA isn’t telling you about the World Cup in Brazil. The videos attached are very resourceful and they will change the way you look at FIFA and the beautiful game.
- Inequality in Brazil Despite recent improvements, Brazil is still one of the world’s most unequal countries and its poorest citizens are the ones paying the biggest share of their income in tax and also the ones getting the least back from the government spending towards the world cup.(Forbes)
- Fraud The most conservative estimates put the total investments by the government on the World Cup at $11.7 billion, where $4 billion alone has been spent on 12 new and refurbished stadiums, more than three times the cost initially projected resulting in this being the most expensive World Cup ever, largely due to fraud and suspicious ties between politicians and contractors. (Forbes)
- Citizens’ Mistreatment and the ‘missing slum-dwellers’ In a clampdown of violent drug gangs with free range in Brazilian “favelas”, or city slums, the government has stepped up efforts to pacify the impoverished neighbourhoods by sending in militarized police units. Residents and rights groups, however, are crying foul, warning that police have used excessive force and even targeted the wrong people. The Associated Press recently reported that figures for missing people in Rio’s shanty-towns has shot up by 33% in the past year. Will these people be found after the world cup? (FRANCE 24)
And did you know?
- Brazil’s homicide rate is 25 per every 100,000 people. That’s four times higher than the US crime rate. (Financial Times U.S. Department of State)
- Traffic jams cost Sao Paolo $2.3 billion a year.
- The city had the world’s longest traffic jam on May 9, 2008 which stretched 165 miles. (Foreign Policy)
- There might be a series of blackouts during the World Cup!!
- Ahead of one of the world’s biggest sporting events, the Football World Cup, the Brazilian government has admitted for the first time to the possibility of more blackouts, a report in the local daily O Globo said last Thursday.
- Brazil wrongfully incarcerates one in five of its inmates.
- 50% of inmates have never been tried. Recently the National Council on Justice ordered the release of 16,400 prisoners. In Brazil, if you steal bread, and I kill someone, we are going to the same prison.
- Over 200, 000 troops have been deployed to various parts of the country. 950 million dollars have been spent on the security plan alone.
- Homeless people in Salvador and those near the Fonte Nova stadium have been beaten and forcibly cleaned up from the city. Their dwellings and anything they had destroyed.
- After passing world cup related laws in the last six months, Amnesty international has warned that the Brazilian government’s response to strikes and protests could lead to indiscriminate violence
Show Comments (0)