BY RACHEL SHULHAFER
Brazil lives and breathes soccer. They perfected it. No other country can claim to have the amount of iconic names on the backs of their jerseys that Brazil can, both presently and in the past. Argentina has Lionel Messi; England has David Beckham; Spain has Andres Iniesta. But Brazil boasts Ronaldinho, Romario, Socrates, Ronaldo, Zico, and of course Pele, who was named athlete of the century by the International Olympic Committee. Brazil has won five World Cups, more than any other country. The sport is like a religion there. So wouldn’t it make sense for Brazilians to be psyched to host a month-long party with the world’s best players? In the weeks leading up to kickoff, there have been strikes, cops shooting protesters with rubber bullets, and graffiti splattered outside stadiums with messages like “FIFA GO HOME.”
By now, most people know that FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is a corrupt, greedy, and money-sucking entity that isn’t too concerned about the country in which they’re hosting their monstrous event, because they will still pocket billions of dollars while leaving the host country more in debt and inconvenienced than it was before FIFA descended upon them.
For example, seven new multi-million dollar stadiums, and five renovated ones, were constructed for the World Cup, and only the World Cup, meaning they’re in use only a handful of times. One new stadium is still not finished three days before England and Italy are set to kick off inside of it on Saturday. Of course, Brazil is getting the blame placed on them for not getting it completed on time, but the decision to build the stadium in the city of Manaus probably has quite a bit to do with the difficulties they’re having. Manaus is far away from Brazil’s other populated cities, and is in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. It’s mostly inaccessible by car or train. The parts to build the stadium were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean and then down the Amazon River. Plus the hot and humid climate makes it a questionable place to play a rigorous sport in the first place.
However, the lack of finished dressing rooms should be the least of everyone’s worries. Transportation workers are on strike until they get the pay raise they are demanding. Instead they are just getting tear gassed, and rich foreigners are pissed that the line at the train station is too long.
Another big issue is that Brazil’s budget for the World Cup was $13.3 billion. That’s a lot of money to spend so that millionaires can come kick a ball around in some of the most impoverished areas of the country. A lot of people assume that the host country makes money off the World Cup, but that’s unfortunately not always the case. According to America’s Quartly, the World Cup generates about $3.5 billion in revenue, with most of that money going to FIFA, not Brazil. South Africa, which hosted the 2010 World Cup, spent about $3.9 billion on the event, with $1.3 billion going towards construction costs alone.
Regardless, Brazil will be in the international spotlight for the next month. Have fun hosting the Olympics in two years, Rio.