Friday, June 13, 2014

What made Brazil hate Football?

Yes, you read it right. Polls have indicated that people of Brazil (The most enthusiastic football fans) are not happy about World Cup 2014. Percentage of people supporting the tournament has gone down considerably from when Brazil won the hosting rights in 2007.

World Cup has kicked off, and everyone has their eyes fixed on Brazil. Love for the game has brought down fans form all over the world to the arena where teams will contest to prove that they are the best in the world.
Talking about the best in world, one cant keep Brazil out of context. A football team that is very much capable, are good on the form and have the home advantage. But do they really have the home advantage?
Well yes, they do, but not as much as they would have wanted.

A country that worships the game and treat their players as national heroes, and is well known to love the game more than Indians love Cricket suddenly are not so happy with how things have transformed in the past 5-7 years on the road to the Tournament. There were a lot of protests against the Government and FIFA against the Cup threatening to disrupt the tournament. Confederations Cup protests has scaled up the concerns.  Even when the world was watching the opening ceremony on television there were protests going on in the city. But why would that happen? What turned the best football fans people against football?

When FIFA awarded Brazil the opportunity to host the world cup, the world was happy and more so the the country that now boasts to be in the top 10 economies ahead of UK. The idea was to show the world what Brazil is much capable of hosting the mega event and also to boost the economy. Well the money that poured in in 2007 after the bid went in favour of Brazil, it seemed like things might just go the way they have been planned for. 25 Transit railway projects were promised ( Road traffic in Brazil is infamous for long traffic jams) along with new jobs. Football lovers were loving it. Fast forward to 2014 and there are many things out of place that has added to public displeasure .

The whole project has cost the Nation a whooping $12 Billion. A good $4 Billion has gone in construction of 12 stadiums some of which are not ready yet ( The Sao Paulo's Arena that hosted the opener, has unfinished roof and untested seats).
What has hurt the Brazilians the most is construction of stadium in remote places where they would serve no purpose post the tournament and the maintenance would fall on tax payers. To add to that, the 25 Transit projects have not been materialized and only 5 are in place. In a nation where wealth based inequality has always been a problem, people certainly wanted the money to be spent well in improving  services that could come to public use after the event and not in stadiums that would become a liability. The event has also pushed up the rent in the neighbouring area much higher than normal, making them unafforable for a good population.

FIFA, like everyone knows is a corrupt, money eating machine or a "non profit entity" as they call themselves  has once again shown the world how powerful money is. Much more than Government laws meant for public safety!
They made sure that Brazil allows Budweiser( A sponsor), gets to sell beer for football fans in the stadium, for which they had to bend the law which Brazil had in place in  view of public safety, prohibiting the use and consumption of any alcoholic beverage in the stadium. Anyway, that is another story altogether !

With elections due later this year Brazil, and football fans supporting the players for the nationalist attachment anything less than victory might turn people against the game and well there is always a political implication!


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