The Price of the World Cup

2014 ,    »  -   9 Comments
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The Price of the World Cup

Brazil is the home ground of football, the place where football isn't just a game but a lifestyle. In June, Brazil will be invaded by hundreds of thousands football enthusiasts when the World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world, will be held in twelve cities throughout the country. The final will be in Rio de Janeiro.

According to the NGOs, around 200,000 people are expected to be forcibly removed because of World Cup related constructions. Amnesty International clearly identified huge problems in terms of the way people were evicted, not consulted and not properly compensated. The priority was not there... the logic behind all this was the logic of profit and money.

In the north of Brazil, the city of Fortaleza will host six world cup games. 3 million inhabitants live in the city known as one of the most beautiful beach areas in the world. Tens of thousands of tourists from both Brazil and Europe go there to discover the area that for some is paradise on earth. But the city has a dark side. It's the fifth most unequal city in the world and for the people at the bottom of the society it's far from holiday heaven.

7% of the Fortaleza's wealthiest own 1/4 of the city's riches while millions live on a bare minimum. In Brazil the official number of street children is 24,000 but the actual number is much higher. To put things into perspective, the state of Ceara, where Fortaleza is located, has invested more than 110 million euros in the rebuilding of the World Cup stadium Castelao. This amount is roughly the same as the amount the state has invested in public schools in the last four years combined.

The organizations that help vulnerable children in Fortaleza are also feeling the pressure from the World Cup economy. Last year two organizations closed down because they did not have the means to take care of the children without financial support. One was a much acknowledged organization having existed for 20 years. Life in Fortaleza is not only rough, it's also dangerous. It is ranked as the 7th most violent city in the world with a murder rate of 73 killings per 100,000 inhabitants and it's the most dangerous World Cup city in history.

FIFA, The Brazilian Ministry of Sports, The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro and the Secretary of Security in Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza did not wish to participate in this documentary.

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9 Comments / User Reviews

  1. batvette

    This reminds me of some of the reports on the London Olympics, where producers take all the ills of human civilization and society and heap them upon the feet of those putting on this one event- as if the World Cup or Olympics don't boost the economy and benefit everyone on every level. Does anyone really believe having the world cup elsewhere would be a benefit to even the poorest Brazilians? I don't think so.

  2. EastCoast Au

    too funny batvette , unfortunately prob spot-on........

  3. Sven

    Only that hosting cups never truly benefits anyone (economically) except those who hold it. Most the economical studies done beforehand such events are typically done by lobbyists who just add number upon number whilst omitting that for every benefit there will be a trade-off. That is now being caught out, luckily, much the same as with all the stadiums once build all over the US to attract popular sports teams. For instance, the jobs created are firstly all temporary, and say a construction worker building the stadiums and infrastructure does not equal a construction worker that would otherwise be out of a job. Similarily, tourists specifically going to watch a World Cup aren't necessarily tourists that wouldn't have booked a trip to Brazil anyway, plus for the Olympics in Greece it was found that such "event tourism" had actually driven some usual summer tourists away.

    Additionally, the locals typically make up most of the visiting crowd, and every time committed to watching a Cup either in the stadium or at home is time not spend consuming something else. South Africa invested billions for a return of a few hundred million and it was tax payers that had to cover for that in return. For every profit a small local business may have made it had already paid some money for twice in advance: once by their tax that helped building the stadiums in the first place and then by covering for South Africa not even covering a fraction of its building and operating costs. And even Germany 2006 was barely recorded as a "Blip" in German economy, and the optimistic number of visitors predicted to visit England during Euro 96 was never met. But with such footballing countries at least most of the stadiums are still being used for full effect. This is all widely acknowledged and covered in the aftermath of both cups by major news outlets and can be googled easily. Both World Cups in South Africa and Germany were a good deal less expensive than that in Brazil, by the way. Multiple times less expensive. You don't need an A grade in Maths to predict who's going to benefit of this. The benefit usually isn't economical, it's some feeling of happiness belonging and togetherness for a couple of weeks, if at all. That is if people don't feel robbed and fooled as they damn should be. I recommend a book called Soccernomics for some further insights into this.

    That is why people living in democracies, in the light of the ever rising costs, now actually go against it. It's not only in Brazil the people that were promised much smaller costs (and stadiums paid by private rather than tax money). But also in Munich where people protested against hosting the Olympics. Consequently, both FIFA and IOC are looking for hosts where people are a little less, dumb, no wait, problematic as they don't have
    anything to say anyway. Roll on Qatar, China, Russia et all.

    Additionally all those events are organized by highly corrupt organizations and monopolists that
    make tax payers pay it all whilst collecting all the operating profits by circumventing laws and tax pay.

  4. Nada nada

    Same old same old. This has being going on for, what? Like forever. Pretty much every "mega-event" is just another source of corruption (the elections being the most rampant and profitable.)

  5. socratesuk

    Probably the best post I have ever come across on this entire site. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with the community. I think the benefits typically only affect a small tiny group of elites. For example corporate sponsorship deals and advertisers. At least US stadiums are used on a regular basis.... (The locals buy drink and food there, and eventually the stadiums pay for themselves etc) The buzzword is "legacy". The London Olympics legacy is looking a bit thin now, but it entertained a lot of people, and presumably got more people interested in sport. *Which is never a bad thing. However in countries with extreme poverty there is little evidence that the poorest will gain anything from it. (Apart from maybe selling some unofficial world cup merchandise near a stadium...., realistically most will be financially no better off)

  6. bringmeredwine

    Maybe a few less street children would have been exterminated and more people could have kept their homes.
    Sorry, don't mean to be such a downer.

  7. mijsmith1981

    WORLDCUP2014ACCESS COM is great source
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  8. batvette

    "The benefit usually isn't economical, it's some feeling of happiness belonging and togetherness for a couple of weeks, if at all. "

    We're having the same debate here in San Diego as we contemplate who will pay to replace the 50 year old stadium our NFL Chargers play in. Pessimists share your point of view but forget about all the beer and licensed merchandise that gets sold (nearly) every year when they make the playoffs. Local merchants profit, the city taxes their sales and this paves the streets and funds parks and schools. Ticket holders come from out of town and spend. The alternative would be to roll up the sidewalks and stay in bed. There is logic behind some of what you say but there is also a level of denial there, the same that people in America have when they declare there is no benefit to them in invading Iraq. They would pretend that only Exxon and Shell had a stake in the affair but would scream bloody murder if they pulled up at the pumps and they were dry or gas was $10 a gallon.
    Finally yeah "corrupt organizations and monopolists" get rich off these things.... and build mansions and buy fancy cars, which must be built and marketed and if the people of Brazil don't want jobs building mansions I'm sure the poor folk of another country will be standing in line to fill the vacancies.
    On a personal level a bit of advice- if you're no so bitterly contemptuous of them you might find the wealthy are not so bad and might even share some of it with you- at the very least you won't give them a reason to laugh as they give you nothing.

  9. batvette

    As he said it might be a feel good thing for a short time, but as hope is what we need to get from one day to the next you might say that's priceless.

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