9 Huge Problems Facing Brazil’s World Cup
No global sporting event is without its share of concern and detractors, and Brazil is certainly no exception. In fact, if there’s anything unique about the Brazilian World Cup, it’s that it’s probably a little more wrought with logistical issues, suspicious activity, and tragedy. And, of course, the media (us included) love a scandal and would rather report a debacle than an uneventful, pleasant event.
But which will it be?
Likely, it will fall in the middle, but let’s go through the sore spots involving Brazil’s World Cup, and hope that they don’t detract from the soccer celebration at hand.
You generally…no. Wait. You ALWAYS want to keep the word “death” far away as possible from your sporting event. So having a trail of bodies leading up to your Olympics, your World Cup, your…whatever is a tragedy and an embarrassment. Construction worker deaths have been attributed to negligent construction practices in many global athletic events, and the Brazil World Cup is no exception.
9. Worker Deaths
Corruption in and of itself won’t taint the games. No soccer fans will go to the Brazil World Cup and complain about all the corruption they experienced. OK. Corrupt police could ruin a tourist’s stroll through the city. To be more specific, I’m talking about political corruption. This political corruption isn’t tangible per se, but it’s led to poor project management when it comes to the construction and infrastructure supporting the games. It’s cost taxpayers millions in buildings that were constructed for the World Cup, but won’t be open to see a game or catch a tourist. It’s cost taxpayers millions in cushy contracts given to those with the biggest bribe, subjecting the games to fraud, incompetency, and negligence. Were the games more or less corrupt than any other high-level Brazilian process? Who knows. But those other processes don’t cost billions (normally) and they aren’t projected on a global scale. These games are.
When it comes to cleaning up the streets of Brazil, many locals claim the cure is worse than the disease. The national government has assigned quick-strike forces to clean up many of the run-down favelas throughout the country. And in doing so, has instilled a degree of martial law that’s higher than the country has seen in its already seemingly paramilitary police presences. So with this effort comes civil rights violations, perceived and actual oppression, and an uptick in skirmishes between civilians and police. While the World Cup is presented to the world, it’s ultimately bid on to serve the citizens of a country, and it seems those are the ones being alienated.
7. Off-Site Security
It’s unlikely that Brazil would serve as a high-risk terrorism target, but terrorists aren’t exactly a reliably predictable lot. That said, there isn’t a significantly higher assessed threat than at other world events. In fact, it’s probably lower. However, mass terrorism isn’t the only thing you need to be wary of inside the stadiums. Brazil stopped selling beer at its soccer matches to curb violence at games, and it’s been working. However, Budweiser is a sponsor of FIFA and the World Cup, so guess what’s going to be served at games, against everyone’s better judgement? Beer. And Brazil does suffer higher-than average counts of hooliganism.
6. On-Site Security
It’s a bit chicken or the egg, but it seems like many of the things on this list, like the corruption and completion delays haven’t help the World Cup win the hearts and mines of some locals. However, even if things were going swimmingly, it’s likely that people would still be speaking out against the whole affair. Why? Because Brazil has it’s fair share of social issues including crime, environmental concerns, poverty, and education. So money-losing soccer tournament may have not been at the top of many people’s grocery lists. But maybe a few of them. I’m sure many people in Brazil value soccer over all those other things.
Pele is to Brazil roughly what Jesus is to Christianity. So when the vocal and active soccer legend speaks up to call the games an embarrassment and a mistake, it’s hard to spin optimistically. He used very frank language in discussing his disappointment. When left with his words, government officials may find it tough to convince citizens and world press that the event is a success considering they can’t even get the de facto national soccer spokesman to endorse it.
I guess this is a broader point than geography, but with nine entries, the lines will get blurred a little. Brazil isn’t France and it isn’t Japan. It’s about the size of the United States. So it’s not like the population and activity is taking place one localized area. The games sprawl all over the massive country. Which means that there are events in some pretty rural areas. Which is plenty charming…until you have to negotiate your way there using public transport on roads that might not be open yet. Oh, and they’re building stadiums in areas without soccer teams, virtually guaranteeing they’ll never be used again.
In a last minute effort not seen since the Athens Olympics, Brazilian contractors, crews, and officials are SCRAMBLING to finish several stadiums, with reported backup locations should the buildings not get completed or permitted. Though something tells me that completion=permitting. I don’t think there’s a building inspector in South America who wouldn’t push a new stadium through in the World Cup. Which presents a much more grave set of issues if the building isn’t equipped to handle or evacuate the crowds.
2. Stadium Completion
Finally, something soccer-related. Brazil seems to be the heavy favorite in this tournament, which is a lovely coincidence, considering they’re hosting the thing. There have actually been a lot of host countries that have gone on to win. However, standing in their way are the Germans, who quadrennially field one of the tougher teams on earth. So let’s hope numbers 9-2 aren’t as bad as we fear so we can just watch the best soccer players in the world without having to talk about or fear terrorism, cost overruns, and riots.