On the surface we see the flashy colours of the team jerseys, and the endless crowds of joyous fans. Behind this facade of order and well-maintained development lies a wasteland of broken promises that surrounds a mountain of poverty.
When Brazil was given the opportunity to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as well as the 2016 Olympic Games, citizens looked up as the government promised to invest in major infrastructure changes that would massively benefit the country. Instead, they were rewarded with disappointment and shame as their government poured resources into plans that made little sense to the rest of country. The never-ending list of inexplicable decisions included importing raw materials from across the Atlantic to be used on remote venues, as well as spending more money on importing machinery to manipulate the materials. This drew the attention and criticism of many well known figures in Brazil, such as Pelé and Ronaldo, who claim the allotment of funds was a disgrace and an embarrassment. Riots have plagued the streets of Sao Paolo, and are only getting worse as the World Cup progresses.
The Brazilian government in total, spent R$25.6 billion on the World Cup alone; a number that equals roughly $11.63 billion US dollars. That’s a good $2 billion more than what Athens spent on their Olympic Games. This number is the approximate equivalent of 60% of Brazil’s public education budget. This abysmal amount of money still isn’t enough, apparently, to complete preparations on time and frugally. Budget constraints and issues delayed the completion of venues and hindered the advancements to the infrastructure that were supposed to be put in place before the World Cup.
Amidst the shadows of these impediments lies the delicate but far-spread network of corruption, scandals, and under-the-table dealings between the government and individual characters that wish to take advantage of the situation. Whether it be politicians who wish to acquire more funds in order to appeal to the masses, or criminal organizations that pocket the funds for themselves, Brazil’s authority suffers from the exploitation of events and funds such as those diverted to the World Cup. Citizens are not getting the infrastructure improvements that would benefit the entire population, and they are stuck watching precious funds disappear, never to be seen again. For Brazil’s people, the World Cup has transformed from an image of a brighter future to one of a path incorrectly taken.