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Beyond samba, sex and soccer: The World Cup riots in Brazil
May 28, 2014 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Brazil has spared no expense for the upcoming World Cup. The month-long competition will feature 64 matches in 12 cities across the country. Refurbishing old stadiums and building new ones has cost Brazil $3.6bn. Several of the new stadiums will seldom be used after the World Cup, and Brasilia's World Cup stadium is estimated to have cost taxpayers $900m.

Tack on an additional $7bn bill for infrastructure, this makes this World Cup an extremely costly one for Brazil, and more specifically, its growing population of unemployed and underemployed, neglected and mistreated citizens. Broken down, each World Cup match will cost Brazil roughly $62m.

Popular protests across Brazil focus squarely on the state's excessive spending on World Cup preparations and planning, in addition to draconian tactics displacing the poor from coveted communities. The state has cut expenditures and public programmes targeting poor and working-class Brazilians. From the vantage point of these communities, the nexus is clear - a fraction of the billions spent on World Cup stadiums, lodging for tourists, and cosmetic projects could have cured a number of ills plaguing the people.
posted by whyareyouatriangle (54 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for posting.
posted by josher71 at 12:08 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


I thought it was all going to kick off, protest-wise, in London for the 2012 Olympics held in the middle of a dismal recession (unlike football, hardly anybody in the UK even likes watching athletics). Nothing happened though.
posted by colie at 12:13 PM on May 28


They won't be able to give these sport things away soon. At least for the World Cup, I'm able to focus solely on the competition and not on the charmless corporate greed that permeates the Olympics' coverage. It's as if these competitions are hosted for a class of people with whom I have no contact or relationship to. Pretty much like Formula One.

If there's a recipe for turning worthwhile entertainment events into a national nightmares, I think we've perfected it across the board.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:18 PM on May 28 [6 favorites]


They won't be able to give these sport things away soon.

Soon? How about now.
posted by zabuni at 12:27 PM on May 28 [7 favorites]


Brazil's evicted 'won't celebrate World Cup'
Eric Cantona: Fifa’s corruption divides Brazilian football from its roots.
Meanwhile in Brasilia yesterday.
The football will be great and the riots will be spectacular.
Why Brazilians Aren,t Excited About the World Cup.
Also The war against the World Cup and the Olympics
posted by adamvasco at 12:33 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


I have a feeling that people will look to the $51 billion Sochi Olympics as the beginning of the end for this shit -- after that, we'll have World Cups in Brazil, Russia and Qatar; and Olympics in Brazil, South Korea, Japan and possibly either Beijing (and there is a reason no city has ever hosted a Summer and a Winter Olympics) or fucking Kazakhstan.

South Korea and Japan will have a chance to put the brakes on the excess, but they might not even be able to. If they can't, then the whole enterprise is going to implode.
posted by Etrigan at 12:34 PM on May 28




Are you picking those countries as places where these events have recently been held? Or as places with the necessary bar for corruption for building new facilities?

In the Sochi thread, it was brought up multiple times that we really ought to just establish permanent locations for these things.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:39 PM on May 28


I mean it's not as if these facilities don't already exist in most major metropolitan areas (in the US at least). Any major city could conceivably host an Olympics without having to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure "improvements." The rush to build new stadiums leading up to one of these events had always been "because, capitalism" i.e. a convenient excuse for political leaders to throw money at real estate developers.
posted by dudemanlives at 12:42 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


Dave Zirin on the World Cup (except from his forthcoming book, fyi).
posted by Kitteh at 12:43 PM on May 28 [5 favorites]


That is a world class, FIFA quality link right there.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:50 PM on May 28


And I have just learnt that Brazils´s state of exception World cup law is now in effect.
See See here and in Portuguese.
posted by adamvasco at 12:55 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


Any major city could conceivably host an Olympics without having to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure "improvements."

Yes, but that's been true for the last half-century. London is basically the definition of a modern major city and had hosted the Olympics twice, yet billions were spent on new facilities. Tokyo is tearing down the actual National Olympic Stadium to build a new one. The Olympics and the World Cup will always be an excuse to throw money around -- it's just a matter of when the democratic countries start realizing that it isn't worth their money and then stop enabling the autocratic ones.
posted by Etrigan at 12:56 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


Tokyo is tearing down the actual National Olympic Stadium to build a new one.

And Atlanta is planning on building a new baseball stadium, despite the fact that the old one is less than 20 years old, citing the fact that the old one is in the wrong neighborhood and is too big, etc. etc.

What a criminal waste of the earth's resources.
posted by Melismata at 1:00 PM on May 28 [18 favorites]


I love sports. Hell, I'll even stifle my outrage and watch the clusterfuck of corruption that is the Olympics. But we have to stop this goddamn insanity of budget busting events and stadiums that benefit no one but the grifters, contractors, and team owners. Enough of this shit already.
posted by Ber at 1:04 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


I thought it was all going to kick off, protest-wise, in London for the 2012 Olympics held in the middle of a dismal recession (unlike football, hardly anybody in the UK even likes watching athletics). Nothing happened though.

If I'm not mistaken, the Olympics these days tend to be very tightly managed for image, through suppression of free speech.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:05 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


What a criminal waste of the earth's resources.

there's a lot of that going around - acres and acres of empty buildings in the "wrong" areas while building runs amok in the "right" ones
posted by pyramid termite at 1:15 PM on May 28


I have a feeling that people will look to the $51 billion Sochi Olympics as the beginning of the end for this shit -- after that, we'll have World Cups in Brazil, Russia and Qatar; and Olympics in Brazil, South Korea, Japan and possibly either Beijing (and there is a reason no city has ever hosted a Summer and a Winter Olympics) or fucking Kazakhstan.

I'll be shocked if the Qatar World Cup actually goes ahead. It was a mistake from day one with fewer and fewer people now supporting it. Qatar paid a great many bribes to get the competition and FIFA need to clean up the corruption. The IOC is no better.
posted by Thing at 1:19 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


This is sort of how the last Worlds Fair anyone can name was in Knoxville, Tennessee. And that's only because The Simpsons bothered to make fun of it several years later.
posted by Naberius at 1:28 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]




we really ought to just establish permanent locations for these things

Works for the UN and Lollapalooza.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:31 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


I'll be shocked if the Qatar World Cup actually goes ahead. It was a mistake from day one with fewer and fewer people now supporting it. Qatar paid a great many bribes to get the competition and FIFA need to clean up the corruption. The IOC is no better.

Someone who lives in my house (me, my wife, our roommate, not sure who) once said "the IOC exists only to ensure that FIFA is not the most corrupt international organization." It's always helpful to remember that.

The thing I hate most about all this is that I honestly like the World Cup. I'll watch games, and I'll enjoy them, I'll cheer for my country, and I'll wish I didn't have to have this shit in the back of my brain while I do it. There's no reason for it, there's money enough to host a perfectly acceptable World Cup without bankrupting an already impoverished country, but apparently we can't do that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:31 PM on May 28 [11 favorites]


As long as the people in place who make the decisions to award/build/host these events are able to get a cut, the billions will continue to be spent.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 1:40 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


"I'll be shocked if the Qatar World Cup actually goes ahead. "

The problem there is that they have spent money building stuff already and can probably sue for redress.

It is a shame for sports fans that all these things have been fucked up by greed, corruption, cronyism and a complete contempt for the people of the hosting country and their wishes/needs. Look at South Africa - how many of the stadia built for the WC are still in regular and full use? Even in England after the Olympics it was ll that "Legacy" bullshit - what legacy? All the schools have sold their playing fields to developers, there is nowhere to do sports for most kids now.
posted by marienbad at 1:47 PM on May 28


This is sort of how the last Worlds Fair anyone can name was in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Actually, that was because the next world's fair went bankrupt during the fair -- New Orleans in 1984. Yes, New Orleans held it two years after the Knoxville one. Against the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
posted by eriko at 1:51 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos - nice quote. Also you're not alone - I kind of like the whole Word Cup concept, although I don't like sports, and it's interesting to watch. It's become quite less interesting now it's one big, long 'fuck you' to the poor. "FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke seemed to pine for the dictatorial Brazil of yesteryear when he said that “working with democratically elected governments can complicate organizing tournaments.""
Are they so rich they don't care? I can't get my head around the thought processes of FIFA and also the IOC in that new buildings have to be built all the time or no Tournament. I can't even install FIFA's Android app to feel guilty over because it wants to...
"add or modify calendar events and send emails to guests without owners' knowledge (and) read calendar events plus confidential information". (emphasis mine.) What. The. Fuck. FIFA!?
These guys are looking to be as evil as the banks and bankers/investors/filth that defrauded and destroyed people's lives.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:59 PM on May 28


Someone who lives in my house (me, my wife, our roommate, not sure who) once said "the IOC exists only to ensure that FIFA is not the most corrupt international organization."

Me! It was me!

I totally stand by that, too; they're all the more corrupt because they act like they're promoting unity and international understanding and cooperation and really they're exploiting athletes, many of whom have a lot less money they do, as well as the citizens of the countries in which they operate.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:00 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


Ah, ok then: Mrs. Pterodactyl - nice quote! I'll be using that, I'm sure (I'll give you the credit for it, of course).
posted by Zack_Replica at 2:09 PM on May 28


The problem there is that they have spent money building stuff already and can probably sue for redress.



Can you actually sue to get your bribes back?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:21 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


Yes, but that's been true for the last half-century. London is basically the definition of a modern major city and had hosted the Olympics twice, yet billions were spent on new facilities.

London 1948 games were held on a shoestring budget in a still heavily war-damaged city in a country with a devastated economy - many athletes had to be housed in military bases for instance . London 2012 development focussed on redeveloping an area of the city that had been historically poor and in decline since WWII with the loss of the port industries
posted by Bwithh at 2:22 PM on May 28


the FIFA world cup should be held every 4 years in the United States of America.

It's not a soccer-mad nation, which is a feature not a bug. The stadiums are large, friendly, newish, and already being used for other expensive sports and thus well maintained. No new construction is needed, the infrastructure is fine if not Europe-level, and the tourism industry is very well developed and capable of handling large numbers of international tourists, again not at Europe's level but pretty close. If FIFA still wants a bit of the old corruption fun, they can auction of the final to various cities the way the Super Bowl does.
posted by cell divide at 2:37 PM on May 28 [5 favorites]


The World Cup is held every four years on Soccer Island, which was discovered by a Russian submarine at the location of the former north polar ice cap. Every four years the Island becomes an orgiastic nonstop festival of baroque bloodsports (all called "soccer" despite varying wildly in rules, scoring, and body count) during its six-month-long day. Tickets are free but no one who attends the Cup is permitted to leave Soccer Island
posted by theodolite at 3:02 PM on May 28 [10 favorites]


Are they so rich they don't care?

Yup. The very rich really are different from you and me. With a few exceptions (probably), they are utterly amoral sociopaths.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 3:15 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


"the FIFA world cup should be held every 4 years in the United States of America."

This would be worth it just to see the response from the elitists who would poo-poo the very idea that the US would be worthy of being permanent hosts the event when they haven't done anything to deserve it.
posted by Tevin at 3:30 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


The '92 world cup in the US did not have any new stadiums, etc. built for it if I remember correctly. I went to several games at Foxboro stadium in MA.

Given how football mad Brazil is, you would think they would have enough stadiums already. Not new, shiny, built with kickbacks and bribes stadiums, but stadiums none the less.

Unlike the Olympics, I think the World Cup can be hosted without becoming a neo-liberal wet dream. Whether it will or not is another matter entirely.
posted by Hactar at 3:34 PM on May 28


I definitely remember reading some journalism about the crumbling state of Brazil's stadiums after they were announced as hosts, no idea how accurate it was. I'd accept that they needed to be repaired, it's hard to accept that as the responsibility of the Brazilian government instead of the rich Europeans who are pocketing the money from the World Cup.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:39 PM on May 28


The US has it's own little version of this, with cities bidding to host the Superbowl. Another boondoggle that never actually profits anyone save for the team owners and the league.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:55 PM on May 28


Hactar: One of the selling points of a US based World Cup is that we are pretty much one of the few nations that does not need to build facilities, thanks to the dozens of football arenas across the US.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:56 PM on May 28


early this month in one of the world cup host stadiums in recife, brazil, a fan was killed instantly when a rival club's fan hurled a toilet down at him from higher up in the stands. it's worth another million or two to fix that problem pronto, before the tournament starts.

if i were a tweeter, i would support #dieolympicsdie and #nomoreolympicsinUSA.
posted by bruce at 3:57 PM on May 28


The US has it's own little version of this, with cities bidding to host the Superbowl. Another boondoggle that never actually profits anyone save for the team owners and the league.

Hotels and restaurants love it. But the infrastructure is already there -- no one bids on a Super Bowl and then builds the football stadium.
posted by Etrigan at 4:43 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


(Or, I should say, no one bids on a Super Bowl without having already arranged to build the stadium.)
posted by Etrigan at 4:56 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


Naberius: "This is sort of how the last Worlds Fair anyone can name was in Knoxville, Tennessee. And that's only because The Simpsons bothered to make fun of it several years later."

That's probably true for Americans but I'd guess mostly because that was the last world's fair in The United States of America. Expo 86 in Vancouver and Expo 88 in Queensland were both well recieved with Vancouver's Worlds Fair garnering extensive credit for putting Vancouver on the map.
posted by Mitheral at 5:06 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Atlanta is in the process of bidding on a Superbowl for a stadium that will be built (to replace the 20 year old Georgia Dome) once they finish tearing down churches to make room for it. Wrigley Field just celebrated its centenary, but the Georgia Dome and Turner Field (formerly Centennial Olympic Stadium) are just too old to be any good.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:10 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]




If I am feeling cynical, I kind of hope that the Qatar World Cup is an absolute disaster. Poor facilities and infrastructure, players passing out from heat stroke (though no permanent injuries, please!), entire matches canceled, the year 2014 written off completely.

Maybe, just maybe then will the fans nuke FIFA from orbit and start anew.
posted by zardoz at 6:10 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


If I am feeling cynical, I kind of hope that the Qatar World Cup is an absolute disaster. Poor facilities and infrastructure, players passing out from heat stroke (though no permanent injuries, please!), entire matches canceled, the year 2014 written off completely.

I wouldn't be surprised to see some kind of "Global Group" thing where they have the group stage played in a bunch of different countries, allegedly as a tip of the hat to history or the future or some shit but really because Qatar just can't hack 63 games, and then the elimination rounds held in the one stadium in Qatar that's actually working (after the emirate pours a billion into it over the last six months, including a roof; and rolls out fresh sod every night after two games per day).
posted by Etrigan at 7:14 PM on May 28


Errr, make that 2022. (That far off??)
posted by zardoz at 7:33 PM on May 28


Roads and Kingdoms: The Dream Time Of The World Cup
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:20 AM on May 29


The anger and cynicism in this thread is well deserved, but the mind-blowing mythological power of the Brazil football team is still likely to sweep all before it soon.

It's impossible to overstate the impact the Brazil team of 1970 had on children's brains in England. We'd never even seen a match on TV in colour before and suddenly those yellow shirts in the sunshine were like some kind of alien takeover. It was to all intents and purposes a modern, friendly, TV-enabled wizardry. Kids watched with their mouths hanging open and when it was over ran immediately into the streets.

Here's a few seconds of it.
posted by colie at 12:45 AM on May 29 [2 favorites]


I've been to quite a few World's Fair, but not probably quite the ones you were thinking about. I did chuckle when I saw the mention of it on the wikipedia page.
posted by koolkat at 7:56 AM on May 29


the FIFA world cup should be held every 4 years in the United States of America.

Fuck. No.
posted by Ned G at 9:47 AM on May 29


In four years time it would be known as 'The Soccer World Series' or some bullshit, and at that point I would no longer be responsible for my actions.
posted by Ned G at 9:49 AM on May 29


Brasil's World Cup is an expensive exploitive nightmare
posted by adamvasco at 4:03 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]




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