The 2014 FIFA World Cup has begun and aside from all the men with great butts running around (hey, we can’t ignore it), it’s all about the games.
Sadly, however, we’re also faced with the reality of government corruption and the hand the Fédération Internationale de Futbol Association (FIFA) — aka, the organization that controls the World Cup — has in plundering the land, money and resources of a nation with serious infrastructure, social service, poverty and education issues.
“It is unacceptable to build a mega event that will provide high profits to FIFA … while there are serious problems of social inequality in the country,” said Jean Marcelo, an activist with the student protest group Domino Publico.
“The World Cup reaffirms an existing logic that rules the Brazilian government. It’s a logic benefiting big businesses and a small elite who occupy the top of the social pyramid,” he told CNN.
Talk about bittersweet. And while we’re still rooting for the hardworking teams, we’d like to bring to light the corruption that has occurred and the demonstrations that are currently taking place to protest against FIFA’s wave of destruction.
The Exuberant Cost:
Brazil’s bid for the World Cup proposed a spending budget of $1 billion on stadiums. That figure, however, was blown out of the water with new developments and extended infrastructure projects built to match the extravagant history of the Cup. Updated projections say the costs have exceeded $11 billion in public funds — funds meant for transportation and infrastructure projects meant to benefit all Brazilians (which have now been canceled or delayed).
In the days leading up to the Cup, protestors have taken to the street to voice their concerns and frustrations over the cost of the event and what it could mean for Brazil in the future. One student protestor told the New Zealand Herald this:
“I’m totally against the Cup,” said protester Tameres Mota, a university student at the Sao Paulo demonstration. “We’re in a country where the money doesn’t go to the community, and meanwhile we see all these millions spent on stadiums.”
You can read more here.
The Displacement Of Families:
In the months leading up to the World Cup, Brazil participated in the mass relocation of 15,000 families out of the slums in cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Government officials contend that the families are being moved out of dangerous, disaster-prone areas. But Amnesty International disputes that claim, saying the nation is moving families to areas where the conditions aren’t significantly better. No doubt these families were moved to create room for infrastructure projects meant to serve the World Cup and Olympics.
A patchwork of plastic tents has appeared on an empty piece of land less than 2.5 miles (about 4 kilometers) from the World Cup stadium. More than 3,000 families have joined the squatter settlement known as the “People’s Cup,” hoping to use the global sporting event as a platform to pressure the government to provide low-income housing.
You can read more here.
Those Massive Infrastructure Projects:
Speaking of moving the poor out to build for the rich…
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver couldn’t have said it any better when discussing the new 42,000-seat stadium in a city within the Amazon rainforest that cost the country more than $300 million to build.
“Okay, that does seem like a waste of money, especially when you consider that that stadium is only going to be used for four World Cup games,” Oliver said. “There’s also no team in Manaus that can fill it afterwards, at which point it becomes the world’s most expensive bird toilet.”
The People Don’t Want It:
Here’s a statistic for you — 61 percent (yes, 61) is against Brazil hosting the World Cup, citing it as a detraction from the real issues that plague Brazil, like social services, schools and healthcare.
From Think Progress:
Rising prices, Brazil’s significant rich poor gap, and lack of employment were all described as very big problems. A much smaller 34 percent believe the Cup will create jobs that will boost the economy. Disapproval of president Dilma Rousseff’s handling of preparation for the Cup stands at a high 67 percent.
And Everything This Guy Has To Say About FIFA Corruption:
We all love soccer, but hey, we can’t deny that we’re a little torn when it comes to being super excited about something FIFA produced.
Seriously, John Oliver’s bit comparing FIFA to Breaking Bad’s Walter White, contending that the organization is “awful, but the product they push is amazing” is all too accurate.
Watch his brilliant take down of FIFA here:
SOURCE: Think Progress, ABC, NZH, CNN | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube