It seems that every single major sporting event in the world is dogged by rumours that it won’t be ready. Remember the furore over preparations for the Athens Olympics? Or the problems faced by the organisers of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi? Well, the same can certainly be said about the 2014 World Cup, set to be staged in various cities across Brazil. So what are the problems facing the Brazilian organisers, and are they going to be big enough to prevent the next World Cup from being a great one?
Firstly, it should be said that, despite various concerns, the World Cup will definitely be staged in South America’s biggest country next year: FIFA have said so, and the chances of them going back on their decision are next to none. Even after Blatter expressed doubts over their suitability in July, there will be no change of heart from the game’s governing body. There are problems though, so FIFA will be hoping that they can be sorted before they end up with egg on their face – although the current furore over Qatar is currently diverting attention from this issue.
Perhaps the biggest problem facing the organisation of the 2014 World Cup is the people themselves, as large swathes of the Brazilian population are incredibly unsupportive of the competition being staged there. In fact, they are so incensed that the competition being staged in the country formed a large part of the reasons behind the mass protests in the country during the Confederations Cup. With poverty still rife in certain areas of the country, many feel that lavish spending on a football tournament is simply not right: the money should be going to the people instead, to help with their lives. With Brazil also hosting the next Olympics, the protests are even more vigorous than they would have been.
Of course, this is a problem that must be addressed, otherwise the tournament will be under a cloud from the first game through to the final. The government needs to persuade the people that the tournament will bring greater prosperity to the country in the long run, and needs to convince people that their taxes are not being wasted on an elaborate Brazilian PR stunt. Turning the opinions of the Brazilian people around will sort 90% of the problems the tournament is currently having.
Infrastructure is also currently coming under massive scrutiny as the tournament gets closer, just as it does with every tournament – it seems to be one of the favourite focuses for naysayers throughout the world. They do have a point though: remember the 2-2 draw between England and Brazil at the Maracana earlier this year? Well, that was initially called off by the local justice citing fears around the safety of the 70,000 fans in the stadium. It only went ahead after the local government won an appeal. Not a good sign just one year before the world’s biggest soccer tournament arrives.
But the real question is not whether the infrastructure will be ready now, but whether it will be effective and in place by the start of the tournament. The answer to this should be “yes”, as the government will be pouring millions (if not billions) into this area over the next year (probably much to the chagrin of the aforementioned protesters). Of course, there will be hitches along the way – but the Brazilians will get it done. After all, the Confederations Cup went well, and that was held before much of the infrastructure was in place.
The final major issue that needs to be addressed by the Brazilians is the crime that occurs within the major cities. It is well known that certain areas of the country are hotspots for crime, and the reputation is unfortunately deserved. Don’t forget, however, that a country with an even worse reputation hosted the World Cup in 2010, and there were no major incidents to report for traveling fans in South Africa. The Brazilian authorities will be studying the South African methods carefully, and can also use the experiences gained from hosting the Confederations Cup to fine-tune their plans.
So, Brazil is facing a number of questions both at home and from international observers regarding their preparation for the World Cup. But when hasn’t a country faced certain issues before a major tournament? Sure, there are certain problems for the Brazilians to overcome, but the fact is simple: the World Cup will go ahead, so perhaps everyone should start getting behind the tournament, instead of trying to create more issues for the organisers. After all, where better to hold a World Cup than in the country that’s produced some of the greatest players to ever play the game?
This article was written by guest writer Ilan
Ilan runs the Australian web site Football Jerseys Online where you can purchase jerseys from all the top European leagues including EPL, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga.