On October 30, 2007, Brazil was officially announced as host nation for FIFA World Cup 2014 and Confederations Cup 2013, turning the country upside down.
The excitement didn’t last long.
Brazilians usually don’t believe in their potential, and right after the announcement people started getting skeptical if we were capable of hosting such a big event.
Ordinary everyday problems became a reason to heavy criticism. The most common phrase related to the cup, which can be heard all around the country, is “Imagine in the world cup”. If you got a bad service at a restaurant, long lines at the airport, crazy bus schedules, failure in energy supply, name a problem, If it’s bad now, imagine in the World Cup.
At first, I was very optimistic. Brazil is a very rich country - the country is rich, not the people - meeting all requirements to host big events like FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games, which Brazil will host in 2016. We brazilians are well known for loving soccer and we are surely going to make this a huge party. I’m not a soccer fan myself, but I had this hint, we wouldn’t mess things up with something so important for us. All that criticism was coming from our lack of self-confidence.
How could I have been so naive?
Everything went wrong, in the worst way possible.
We had to demolish and rebuild almost all 12 stadiums, only 2 stadiums were delivered on time. The estimation cost for building all twelve arenas, in the project, were about R$ 3.85 billion (1.56 bi us dollars), four years later, the project had already cost about R$ 7 billion (3,75 bi us dollars). We doubled costs with our horrible cost estimation capability.
News says Brazil has already spent something around R$ 27 billion with the World Cup, way more than estimated. I understand it’s a huge project and big expenses are necessary, but everything seems to be a bit wrong. No management can be this bad.
In Brasilia - capital of Brazil, city where I live - they started to build a light rail vehicle. The LRV is planned to cross the city, and is part of the Cup project for solving our public transportation crisis.Works started in 2009, but were interrupted after contractual irregularities, brazilian justice considered the process to be fraudulent. According to the news, LRV will not be ready for the World Cup.
The whole city of Brasilia is an UNESCO World Heritage Centre, a quite important title around here. For a reason, they are going to ruin the original plan of the city, that ensures this title, to build a cycleway and grow trees in a place intentionally left clear. The purpose of these empty areas are to hold events and public manifestations, the local is placed in the middle of government buildings, so people can express their will to their leaders.
This project will cost R$ 60 million and the World Heritage Centre title.
It’s sad to say, but every citizen is led to believe these wrong estimation, doubling expenses and high cost projects are a cover up for diverting public money. You won’t find many people who think differently.
It’s really depressing.
Things are going crazy
Something crazier about the world cup is revealed everyday.
The state of Mato Grosso released a booklet for training employees to help tourists. The book contains pieces of historical information and tales about its cities. Someone forgot to revise this book. The content was completely altered. Bad words, insults and all kind of misleading information purposely changed.
This extract from the book is unbelievable:
Cáceres was colonized by Indians ‘tabajaras’, celibate lesbian nuns, and fugitives from a Dutch horror circus.
Somebody forgot to do his job. This is how we feel around here, about everything.
Brazilians don’t speak English. Really.
You can barely find highly educated people who can comfortable keep a good conversation in english, getting worse as you look at basic services, public transportation, restaurants and, as shocking as it sounds, airports.
Tourists are going to have a bad time around here.
At the moment, there’s a TV show following few tourists from different countries and their adventures reaching touristic places, using public transportation and asking for directions. There was a funny scene where an american guy asked for directions in the hotel, and the attendant thought he wanted to check out. You can understand how serious it is.
Rio installs signs in English to guide tourists, but had to take them down because all the English is wrong.
World Cup is not for brazilians
Tickets are really expensive. The minimum wage in Brazil is 678 reais. It’s estimated that 40 percent of the people live on minimum wage, many people with much less. For the Confederations Cup, the tickets to Brasil x Japan at the National Stadium in Brasilia costs R$ 690. Even wealthy people would have problems to watch the game. For the World Cup tickets cost up to R$ 9.000.
Everything related to the World Cup is up to 10 times more expensive than in regular season. I don’t know a single person who is going to watch the games on stadiums, and I know a lot of people.
Imagine you live in a big house. Suddenly some unknown people start planning a party there. It sounds fun at first, so people start using your money to buy new furniture, a bus to catch guests, beer, food, everything. There’s a huge party going on inside your house, with things bought with your money, but you, well, you are not allowed to get in there.
You represent the brazilians, the house is Brasil, and the party is the World Cup. I think you guessed that.
This is how we feel.
Few last words
I am not the kind of guy who makes absurd comparisons. I understand things have different meanings and purposes.
While writing this, i turned my TV on and watched the news, something really unpleasant to do nowdays. I was writing about billion spent on stadiums and trees, while the girl on TV was crying, because she had to travel about 1500 km to reach a public hospital. I really bet R$ 27 billion could help to revitalize many hospitals.
Hundreds are dying in precarious hospitals and ‘The People’ are paying for stadiums, roads, cycleways, buildings and things they won’t be able to enjoy.
Nothing makes sense at all.