The European Politics Blog

Blogging about politics and current affairs in Europe

One of the most anticipated tournaments in sports is the World Cup. Held every four years, this tournament brings together people of all races, nationalities and personal sports team favourites, like nothing else does. For 2014, Brazil was chosen to play host country for the Cup, and for the next one month there will be feverish amount of excitement amongst football fans around the world regarding the cup here in South America.

A $113bn price tag, unexpected and unprecedented for delays in building and growing the infrastructure, later, what can we expect to find this year for the World Cup? This country is poor, so it takes some time getting used to the atmosphere in Sao Paulo and it’s form of graffiti and confetti celebrations for the tournament. Because of the massive delays, many public transport plans never left the chalk-and-blackboard stage, infuriating many who had expected these state-of-the-art services at their disposal already.

But fear not maybe the culture and the people of the country can tempt you to come back and sample these luxuries after they are completed once the World Cup is done and dusted with. These poor planning schemes that led to the collapse of many of the services initially promised by Brazil means that lines of comparisons are inevitably being drawn to how fast the other host cities have acted over the years, or are acting at the moment, to prepare for the tournament.

Trees and plants are still being planted in and around the stadiums of Sao Paulo, but the food and beverage outlets are all ready for purchases, so that is a much-needed and glad to note, positive development there. FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, who has been keeping up with the pace of progress at home, and is yet to fly to Brazil, sounded enthusiastic about the World Cup this year,

“Now we’re at the eve of the opening and I’m happy that tomorrow we’ll have the kick-off and everybody will be in the game, and I’m sure the population of Brazil also will have the time to enjoy it,”

Twelve cities have been picked as host cities for the tournament, and all of them are very well-known here for the traffic gridlock that could prove to be a hassle for spectators trying to get to the stadiums on time for the match. One of the many reasons frustrations has rose up is because of this traffic network problem, that many of the game lovers hoped wouldn’t greet Brazilians and travellers to their country, during the World Cup.

Protests, however continue to range on issues that usually encircle developing nations chosen to host the tournament, such as overspending on resources that won’t be of much use after the World Cup, instead of spending on issues that demand government attention, like health care, and the high prices of the tickets correlating to the Brazilian working-class being unable to attend much of the games in person, as much as they would have loved to.

People have been displaced to make way for the new developments, which is a cause for concern for many here in Brazil, and as spirited as they are as a nation for football, and have been for generations, all of the trouble is not worthwhile for the residents, when they cannot even afford to make it to the games.

South America isn’t known for speediness when it comes to construction work, so all the criticism being directed at FIFA and Brazil in this aspect, should take into account the culture of the country first. Heartening, is the idea that the Deputy Sports Minister in Brazil, Luis Fernandes, agreeing to the thought that the tournament should not be restricted to only a couple of rich nations, that the opportunity should exist for various countries to enjoy and be a part of.

What is striking is that most of the infuriated behaviour from locals is actually stemming from being kept in the dark about the funding behind the developments. Although, initially told that the money was coming from the private sector, this plan later switched to directing flowing public income, instead.

On a much more happier note, there’s a bit of a fiesta going on in Brazil at the moment, hosted by all the many foreign travellers that have already arrived here for the start of the game tomorrow. There is plenty of exccitement about seeing Brazil in the opening match, as being the host for the World Cup also means that expectations to see them win the cup is immensely high.

Carnivals, samba, and soccer, Brazil has many festive events around the clock, in a calendar year, up their sleeve but when it comes to hosting miniature parties on the streets, some feel dampened at the thought. Nothing to do here, apart from drinking in the streets and carrying your national flag around, and singing with your mates – these Europeans have begun to appear amusing to locals, even if they aren’t enjoying themselves much in their torpid state of alcoholism in Brazil.


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