Brazilians are famous for their love for the king of sports – football. A country of football fanatics used to face the protests against the big tournament. Let’s find out more about the reason why many Brazilians hated the tournament that much.
Brazil has the best national team in the world and enthusiastic football fans
It cannot be denied that Brazilians love football so much. Their Brazil national football team is the most successful national team in the history of the FIFA World Cup. They have touched the FIFA World Cup Champion position five times in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. Footballers in the Brazil national team have the best overall performance in the World Cup. They set a record of 73 victories in 109 matches played, 124 goal difference, 237 points, and only 18 losses.
With a strong national football team and dedicated football fans, Brazil actually had no reason for the protests against the FIFA World Cup that had been spreading across the country. The year 2014 was also the first time the World Cup hosted in this nation since 1950 and was the first time a South American country hosted the World Cup since 1978.
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What are the stakes?
In over 60 years, Brazil had not hosted any FIFA tournament. They, of course, wanted the tournament to go well because it was such a great opportunity to boost the economy which had seen a sign of waning.
Brazil’s economy saw its peak throughout the 2000s. However, such dramatic growth was not considered sustainable when they achieved it mainly by the mass exploitation of natural resources and investments from China. In three in a row before the World Cup in 2014, the nation started experiencing the very first sign of the depressed economy. The stock market saw its weakness and inflation caused prices to soar. If the FIFA World Cup tournament had gone well in Brazil, it would have been a chance to prove to international investors that the country worth their investment.
Add to that, since FIFA World Cup was held here, Brazil got an opportunity to advertise their country to international tourists, presenting a potential development to the tourism industry. The tournament was supposed to attract about 3.7 million tourists to the country, bringing $3 billion in the total revenue. What an ideal opportunity when you can advertise your country while earning big money. Of course, to welcome tourists, there must be adequate infrastructure and sufficient investment was necessary. And the huge investment in infrastructure was the key reason why Brazilian became angry.
The reason they organized the angry and violent protests
For many Brazilians, that World Cup being held in their country was the reason for the depressed economy. They thought that the tournament played no role in improving their living standards. Instead, they claimed the tournament to be the reason for their poverty. Their protests against FIFA World Cup started in June 2013. Protesters claimed that the money spent to prepare the infrastructure for the tournament was extremely enormous. According to them, the amount (around $11 billion) should have been used on social programs for the poor.
Brazil had seen its economy much better in the few years to 2014, but economic inequality was still problematic to this country at that time. According to statistics provided by the World Bank, in 2014, nearly 16% of Brazilians lived in poverty. While many people were living in poverty, the enormous investments of the government to prepare for the FIFA World Cup 2014 made them angry.
Pew Research Center conducted a study, aiming to find out the attitudes of Brazilian people towards the government’s infrastructure investment. The research revealed that most Brazilian were not happy campers. 7 out of 10 people asked told that they were “dissatisfied with things in Brazil today”.
This percentage was 55% higher than the one in the last year. This showed that the reason for Brazilian’s protest came from the World Cup tournament’s investment. Nearly 60% of participants when being asked said that hosting the World Cup did nothing good to Brazil because it took the money from necessary public services such as health care and education.
Several big groups were going out of control. Black Bloc was just an angry protest team. They covered their faces with face masks, smashed windows in buildings, and committed arson.
Not only being attacked physically, but the FIFA World Cup also received warnings from the subversive online hacking community Anonymous, telling that they would launch an attack on the FIFA World Cup and its sponsors.
According to Andrew Jennings, a British journalist who is famous for his articles about FIFA corruption, in his interview with VICE News, said that “The Brazilian people have had enough. Everyone thought, ‘Oh, they just love football, as long as they see a football being kicked by a Brazilian there won’t be a problem.’
However, things happened to Brazil and the FIFA World Cup tournament in 2014 proved that the above opinion was completely wrong. Many Brazilians told “No World Cup here”. Brazilians still love football but it did not necessarily mean that they want the World Cup to be hosted by their country.
According to a social entrepreneur Anderson Franca who spent 11 years in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, Brazilians did not stop loving football, and they were just tired of being robbed. In the situation that the country still faced many challenges and poverty still left many families in trouble, they did not agree with the investment in this football tournament. It was all about priorities and Brazil was not a country that could afford FIFA at that time.
Brazilian protesters claimed that they wanted to see more investment in education, health programs, and infrastructure instead of pouring money into the money-sucking projects like the $300 million Manaus stadium.
People love football and football tournaments. FIFA World Cup, which is held every four years, receives much love and support from football fans. However, sometimes, even if you love football, it does not necessarily mean that you will welcome such a money-sucking event in your country. Brazilians thought that hosting the FIFA World Cup tournament cost their country a big amount. With this money, their living standards could be improved much. Therefore, more and more people lodged protests against the World Cup.