Controversies surrounding Brazil ahead of FIFA World Cup 2014

Jun 02, 2014, 08:36 IST | Agencies

The host country for the 2014 World Cup, has made the headlines for non-footballing reasons. We look at the controversies that have surrounded the event even before a ball is kicked...

Unfinished stadiums
Six of Brazil’s 12 stadiums did not meet FIFA’s original December 31 deadline. As of mid-May, three stadiums — in Sao Paulo, Cuiaba and Curitiba — were still under construction.

Arena de Sao Paulo
A view of the collapsed crane at the Arena de Sao Paulo venue on December 16, 2013. Pic/Getty Images.

In fact, the much-delayed Corinthians Arena at Sao Paulo, which will host the World Cup opener between Brazil and Croatia, was less than three-quarters full for yesterday’s final test match to help assess the stadium’s readiness. The stadium, which is set to welcome 65,000 spectators on June 12, opened only 40,000 seats for fans for the league match between Corinthians and Botafogo yesterday as two temporary seating areas were still unfinished.

The supporting infrastructure around other stadiums, like in Recife, is still incomplete, according to The report added that in many host cities like Belo Horizonte traffic had gotten worse due to the massive projects aimed at improving public transit.

Violent street protests
When Brazil was announced as World Cup host in 2008, 79% of respondents voted favourably for the World Cup in a poll conducted by Datafolha, one of the most important survey institutes in Brazil. However, when Datafolha conducted the same poll in April earlier this year, the number had fallen to 45%. In the same poll, 55% of respondents said that the event will bring more harm than good to Brazilians.

Protesters destroy a police vehicle
Protesters destroy a police vehicle during demonstrations in January 25 in Sao Paulo. Pic/Getty Images.

Scores of Brazilians have taken to the streets protesting against the tournament, and more specifically the whopping $14 billion being spent on the stadiums and other infrastructure.

The latest protests saw around 500 indigenous leaders, many wearing traditional feather headdresses and carrying bows and arrows, open fire on the police in Brasilia with bows and arrows, impaling one officer’s leg. Protests like these will likely hurt the number of fans that will travel to Brazil for the World Cup

High crime rate
Brazil tallied the highest annual number of homicides in 2012 — over 50,000. The country is also known for violent crimes like when a former Brazilian footballer was killed and his decapitated head was delivered to his wife by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro in October.

The country also witnesses a high number of muggings, rape and kidnappings every year leading to countries advising Brazil-bound fans to refrain from arguing with muggers in Rio as muggers are known to kill victims who resist.

The law and order problem threatened to grow worse last month when thousands of policemen in the country went on a strike in states like Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Pernambuco and Amazonas — which will host World Cup matches — demanding that the country double their wages.

Pic used for representative purpose

Internet at stadiums
Millions of fans who turn up for the matches in Brazil may not be able to tweet of post selfies from at least half of the venues as six stadiums do not have wi-fi systems in place — the issue underscores the country’s problems in preparing for the football extravaganza.

Dengue scare
Campinas, the Brazilian city where Portugal and Nigeria will train for the World Cup is in the grip of a crippling dengue fever epidemic. Around 32,384 people have been infected by dengue this year itself in the southeastern city which is about one hour from Sao Paulo. At least three people have died.

Authorities said that the outbreak was being driven by a heatwave at the beginning of the year, the prevalence of a particularly virulent dengue strain and poor sanitation that leaves pools of standing water where mosquitos breed.

Brazil has been hit harder by dengue than any other country so far this century, with seven million cases reported between 2000 and 2013. Campinas is not the only city facing the dengue threat. World Cup host cities Natal, Fortaleza and Recife in the northeast were also at risk.

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