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Bills rise as clock ticks down for Brazil

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Tim Vickery | 07:27 UK time, Monday, 30 August 2010

Along with the other candidates to host the World Cup in 2018, England had to select its host cities and stadiums well in advance. And so earlier this month, the Fifa inspection committee could ride the tube, visit the venues, talk to officials and end up with a firm idea of what they will be getting if England gets the nod.

It is unfortunate that the 2014 hosts did not have to go through a similar process.

Brazil were awarded the next World Cup via a short-lived rotation policy which was, in practice, simply a means devised to help Sepp Blatter deliver on a promise to take the tournament to South Africa.

In March 2003, Blatter decreed that South America's turn would come in 2014 and a few days later the South American Confederation announced that Brazil was its only candidate and although Colombia briefly broke ranks, they had no serious expectations of success.

Brazil, then, has known for over seven years that the circus would be coming to town and Fifa's official announcement in October 2007 only confirmed the obvious.

But the host cities had not even been chosen - that only happened last May, with the decisions taken by Fifa rather than, as usual, by the local organisers - and it was only last Friday that Sao Paulo, the country's biggest city, finally decided which stadium it would use.

Taking so long to sort out such basic issues comes across as gross incompetence.

Some of this is the product of political in-fighting, the projected new stadium of Corinthians replacing that of Sao Paulo FC, for example; some results from the complications of organising an event in a country the size of a continent and some might just be the bungling of inept administrators.

But I also wonder how much of this has taken place on purpose. All these delays have created a need for urgency. The prestige of the country is on the line, and so the government steps in to pay for things which were not supposed to be its responsibility - such as stadiums.

The original idea - or maybe the early sales pitch - was that private investors would take care of the stadium work but that has evaporated.

Of the 12 stadiums to be used in the tournament, only three are owned by clubs. The other nine belong to local governments, which will have to take out loans from the state-owned development bank to carry out the necessary work.maracana595335.jpg
Workman start shifting seats round the legendary Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro Photo: Getty Images

Indeed, even one of the private stadiums, Atletico Paranaense in Curitiba, is set to be partly financed by this route. For the vast majority of stadium work, then, the final bill will be presented to the taxpayer.

And what will Brazil's hard pushed tax payer receive in return? The likely answer is that in the climate of urgency the citizen runs the risk of paying more than he/she should, and receiving less.

Money will be thrown at Brazil's airport infra-structure, vital for the smooth running of the World Cup, but an area of even greater importance to Brazilian society may find itself being forced down the agenda.

South Africa perhaps showed that deficiencies in urban public transport are not an insurmountable problem for the running of a World Cup. It is a special event - people turn up hours early to get the most from the experience, and kick-off times are different from domestic games.

In Brazil, the matches are likely to kick off in the afternoon, time zone differences sparing the fan the ordeal of battling though the rush hour. Investments in public transport could help millions who go through this dreary experience every day, standing on buses for over two hours on their way to and from work.

Improving this situation is one of the biggest benefits the World Cup could bring Brazil. But with all the delays, time constraints are already causing cutbacks and in some cities plans to build or extend underground lines are already being scrapped in favour of cheaper, easier to implement bus-based solutions.

But if underground lines might not be built, the stadiums must be - or expensively patched up in the case of some of the older grounds. Here too, there are problems.

It is unclear how some of the stadiums will be viable after the tournament - Cuiaba and Manaus are obvious examples - and in the heartlands of the Brazilian game, some of the patch-up proposals will retain the existing structure, with a large gap between the fans and the pitch.

This is unsatisfactory both in terms of the stadium experience, and the TV images. No one is currently building stadiums like this. Some of the 2014 stadiums run the risk of being obsolete before the work has even begun - at the taxpayers' expense.manaus595.jpg
The Vivaldo Lima stadium in in Manaus is being demolished and rebuilt ahead of the tournament Photo: Reuters

Two quick points; firstly, I have every confidence that Brazil can and will deliver an excellent World Cup, enjoyed hugely by the thousands who visit and the billions who watch on TV.

Secondly, it is only right and proper that the tournament be held in the developing world.

But the current formula is surely in need of a rethink. Fifa make money from the sale of the TV rights - and to be fair, some of this is distributed around football associations all around the planet.

It does seem, though, that too much of the financial burden for staging the tournament is being pushed towards a government that has plenty of more pressing priorities. Should public money really be used so that the Maracana can be reconstructed in such a way that moves the executive boxes from the worst place in the stadium to the best?

Comments on the piece in the space provided. Questions on South American football to, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.

From last week's postbag:

Q) How good is Botafogo's Jobson?
Connor Fitzsimons

A) He's my new toy! A 22-year-old striker of wonderful talent. He's a defender's nightmare because he can go either way, has close control on both feet, a burst of acceleration and a stocky frame. He has a huge future, providing he can cope with everything that comes his way. He's had one warning - a six-month ban for testing positive for crack.

Q) Some businessmen are purchasing clubs in Europe and spending tons of money signing players. Don't you think it would be better in terms of business to purchase a Brazilian club and sell youngsters to Europe instead? I know that Brazilian clubs are not companies, but if big money came around, I think people would find a way to change the club's by-laws
Marcus Maione

A) You mentioned yourself the legal problem - the major Brazilian clubs can't be bought in this way. Another problem - why bother? If the aim is to make money selling players to Europe there's no need to go to all the trouble of taking on a loss making concern with a huge debt.

Instead, start your own small club to produce players - companies are doing this already - keep a share of the players' registrations, loan them to a big club to gain visibility and then count your share of the transfer fee when he is sold abroad. In the last few years this has been a big growth area.


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  • Comment number 1.


    Why the hell are they hosting games in amazonian cities anyway? Surely to god 2 or 3 stadoims can be used in Sao Paolo instead of just 1!

    having said that, looking at the brazilian league and state championships its no wonder it's a mess!

  • Comment number 2.

    Hopefully Brazil can put on a World Cup worthy of the nation's footballing heritage. Recently, it seems that just about every tournament is preceeded by scare stories about stadiums and infrastructure not being up to scratch - South Africa, now Ukraine and Poland although none of the worst case scenarios have really materialised yet.

    As Tim mentions however, surely FIFA could be using some of their vast TV income from such tournaments to help develop areas the host nation needs to develop, although this may further increase the potential for corruption both at FIFA and in the government of the host nation.

  • Comment number 3.

    Tim, like you I'm sure the Brazilian World Cup will be a fantastic event, but I've never agreed with Fifa's insistance on stadia 'up to scratch' just for 'TV images' - even if that's where they make most of their money..I'd still watch with a few quirky things out of place - stick a poster or banner over them if it really looks bad! So what if there's a gap between the stand and pitch?

    I've commented several times in past blogs about the stupidity of heaping enormous expense upon the local populous for building brand new often blandly designed 'CLONED stadia' primarily for 2 or 3 WC matches when using traditional 'club' stadia built in the host countries own particular style detailing their rich historical significance often adds much more to the overall 'cultural' experience - take Euro'96? Fair enough, update them all for safety etc but play the matches in these famous old grounds for heaven's sake! What did we learn about African football by playing in shiny new stadia?

    As for updating the infrastucture of airports and railway networks - which is always perceived as 'THE' big benefit of hosting these tournaments - as we've seen in the U.K. for the Olympics this also costs the taxpayer a fortune to build and then ticket prices just double when it's actually finished...much like ticket prices at new stadia!

    Wouldn't it be a good idea for a small percentage of every ticket sold around the World for every WC qualifier to go into a pot to pay for the tournaments' FINALS costs (say 5%)? Over 4 years a nice TIDY sum would accrue meaning every country would give their high teeth and bid for the tournament as costs would be covered by all those competing?

  • Comment number 4.

    "Secondly, it is only right and proper that the tournament be held in the developing world."

    Did you see the empty seats at the last World Cup, where locals were priced out of going to games? If FIFA is going to give a World Cup to the developing world, at least make the tickets affordable. Admittedly the stadiums were fantastic and built on time in SA but now they are going to be ghostly empty shells, too grand for a minor African league in the developing world.

    I'm sorry but the hosting award situation with FIFA and UEFA is fundamentally corrupt. We've seen Poland and Ukraine handed Euro 2012 and there are muddy fields in Ukraine where stadiums should be. Hopefully they will be built on time but I wouldn't bet on a great tournament or easy transport between fixtures for fans. Trip from Gdansk to Donetsk anyone? Don't get me started on travelling from Rio de Janeiro into the Amazon.

    In 80 years of international tournaments it's a joke that England have only hosted tournaments twice (WC 66, Euro 96) We have the passion for football, we have the stadiums, we have the hosting and transport infrastructure. It's a joke that FIFA has to send inspectors to check our facilities. What- are our wonderful stadiums, which are packed every week for Premiership and lower league football, going to collapse?

    I realise that football is a global game but along with Germany, England has the best stadiums, best transport system between stadia, best fan atmosphere and best facilities in the world. If you want to hold an international football tournament, it's a no-brainer to hold it in England. I don't see what FIFA inspectors need to be convinced of. Make a decision for all fans, not one depending on how many presents you get from hosting candidates or on the basis of political favours.

    Sorry Tim, but we've seen Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014 go to countries which patently don't have the infrastructure yet in order to hold them prior to the hosting award, and for me it's a decision based on money and politics rather than a decision for the fans of football worldwide. Sure, I understand that South American fans deserve a World Cup on their continent but give it to them when countries like Argentina and Brazil are ready, not just as a political favour.

  • Comment number 5.

    Tim, great blog as usual. Like you said regarding the stadium renovation,

    "......with a large gap between the fans and the pitch."

    I have also heard you mentioning this issue before on the World Football Phone-In.

    Why is this? I mean if its obvious to us that such renovations would make the stadiums a dud then why is the organizers pursuing with this plan?

  • Comment number 6.

    Usual pre-tournament stuff but I'm sure that 2014 will be a good tournament and that Brazil will be a great place to host it.

    Take the point from #3 about the necessity for stadiums built to 'spec': ridiculous and completely uneccessary. But don't agree with the suggestion of a levy on WC qualifiers for stadiums. Daft. Why should people in places that cannot host a WC subsidise the facilties in those who can and want to? And it still wouldn't solve the problem of building irrelevant stadiums. You may want to think about a format based on spreading the tournament among existing grounds from different countries in the one continent and then leave the final as the only thing to be up for bid. That would give more countries access to tournaments instead of the same old suspects.

  • Comment number 7.

    Okay I take your point is basically the government have been shafted for the cost and will now in turn shaft the citizens.
    However it's 2010 surely a piece on when/if/can Brazil be ready for the 2014 world cup is a little bit previous. Naming of stadiums late in the day is incompetent if they are not ready, but naming them 4 years before kick off, I am struggling what that point. While I understand poverty is massive in Brazil, I think it's about time we stopped looking down on the 'Developing World'. How is it developing? Massive population, tons of problems, huge local resources being badly used, mismangement in general, Sounds like many first world countries if you ask me.

  • Comment number 8.

    @4. I am not sure why you are reading politics into this. Sports is being used as a tool to bring development to underdeveloped areas. The World Cup is a huge tournament and prestigious. A country that doesn't have the infrastructure will move heaven and earth to have it. Brasil will definitely be ready despited the current challenges. After all, what didn't we hear about South Africa? but when the time came, they were ready.

    I think it'd be very boring if the tournament is only held in countries that already have the infrastructure, developed countries in my opinion should be the plan B, once a developing host country is unable to get ready on time.

    And the fans are not just great in England. They are great everywhere, FIFA should continue to award the hosting rights to undeveloped areas, the game is global, and it is only proper (like Tim said).

  • Comment number 9.

    Should public money really be used so that the Maracana can be reconstructed in such a way that moves the executive boxes from the worst place in the stadium to the best?
    Of course, how else will the tournament make money if big business is not interested in eating prawn sandwiches behind pillars... It's time for us to realise that Sepp and co have less to do with footie and more to do with holding the worlds biggest pocket lining media event. In the words of Gecko....Greed is good ( I completely dissasociate myself from that sentiment but it does appear to be the new truth)

  • Comment number 10.

    Let´s see...

    Porto Alegre will have by 2014 two private stadiums able to hold World Cup matches. One for 52 thousand people, the other for 60 thousand.

    Only one will receive matches.

    At São Paulo, besides this fantasy Corinthians stadium, they already have the giant Morumbi, which COULD be reformed without spending all the vast sums CBF and FIFA wanted, which lets be sincere, was all part of a plot to take Morumbi out of the World Cup, since São Paulo FC president is a political enemy of Ricardo Teixeira, CBF´s president, son in law of João Havelange (FIFA´s president for over 20 years) and replace it with a Corinthians stadium, which is a long sought dream of the 30 million Corinthians supporters. Guess what? Corinthians president is a political ally of Ricardo Teixeira.

    Besides these two, São Paulo has a 3rd stadium that could be used in 2014. Palmeiras stadium is being reformed, as we speak and should be fit enough to receive World Cup matches, by 2014.

    So, only between Porto Alegre and São Paulo, we would already have 5 PRIVATE stadiums able to held World Cup matches.

    But of course... you CANT steal public money by building private stadiums!

  • Comment number 11.

    "South Africa perhaps showed that deficiencies in urban public transport are not an insurmountable problem for the running of a World Cup."

    While I totally agree with this statement (it was a pain in the neck but we managed to get to all the games on time) there will be bigger problems facing Brazil like South Africa now faces. The inevitable 'white elephants' that the stadiums in Manaus etc. will become, the massive police overtime bill from a month of trying to surpress a serious urban crime problem, trying to find the money to finish all the projects that were promised for the WC but not delivered (South Africa was a mess of incomplete roads, train tracks, shopping centres etc.).

    I also agree that developing countries should be allowed to host the World Cup, is it too much to dream that FIFA could use some of the billions it makes at each tournament to subsidise future tournaments?

  • Comment number 12.

    I am loath to get involved in this Brazilian government's mire, but anyone wanting to get a notion of the BEFORE and AFTER only needs to look at the results of Rio's 2006 Pan-American Games. The contrived delays there raised the costs tenfold, while the benefits to the population from the infrastructure are what, precisely (perhaps, as a local resident, you can give us feedback on that Tim)?
    Re No.7: I think you underestimate the time it takes to prepare infrastructure for such a large event. And it is pleasing that Tim is bringing this to the world's attention, as it may just help stimulate people to be alert to what's going on and for the appropriate steps to be taken.
    I echo Tim's sentiments that those coming to Brazil will enjoy a marvelous experience - one of the reasons for spreading it around, No.1, is to stimulate tourism in this continental sized country's different regions (Amazon, Pantanal, NE beaches, south similar to Europe, SE modernity), because this is a great country, in spite of the politicians!
    And don't delude yourselves, the World Cup and Olympics are all about politics and business interests and have less and less to do with sport.
    I liked the suggestion of No.6 and am sure that the regional variety and coopreation would more than compensate for no longer showcasing a single country. The shared bids are a step in this direction, but it should be taken further. Though of course it would reduce the opportunities for leveraging favours and benefits (imo, an advantage, but I doubt that FIFA would see it that way).

  • Comment number 13.

    Yeah I agree with your take on Brazil being more than ready by the time 2014 arrives... I had the pleasure of seeing games at the Maracana & the Arena da Baixada (Curitiba)... while Maracana fits all the pre-requiste criteria for a Football stadium, the Arena da Baixada reminds me of an American Baseball Stadium... it's modern enough but not really a football stadium most people are used to --- it's three-sided, meaning it's missing a side, which gives it a view to nowhere, it's somewhat destracting. What do you think about that stadium?

  • Comment number 14.

    glad to see sao paulo finally get stadium idea in place to hold matches. even though it won't be my tricolor paulista's home morumbi, it is better to have SOME stadium host matches in the great city than none at all

  • Comment number 15.

    i wish that the new stadiums being formed would address the huge gap between the pitch and the fans. they need to be closer! we need to create intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams haha

  • Comment number 16.

    #15 We all want that, but that will take a great amount of investments in education, a long term process that politics that may start it wont probably get props for his efforts in the span time they are in congress. but something like building bridges, railroads, and now stadiums will surely satisfy their imediate needs.

    it stunned me to see ppl from mato grosso celebrating being hosts, knowing they will spend millions in a new stadium that will be unused afterwards since they have no team in first division, as if their education and health system was notches above the rest of brasil.

    as a voter and tax payer i think (IMVHO and lack of deep understanding) there are too many host cities. And if their delaying promises is to shorten them and have more money to deviate.

    Pan anamerican games were estimated in 400mi, during the constructins they said 800mi would be enough, they ended up spending 4 BILLION in facilities that wont be able to be reused for 2016 olympics.


    #4 ""'I realise that football is a global game but along with Germany, England has the best stadiums, best transport system between stadia, best fan atmosphere and best facilities in the world."""

    i wonder if you realise that football only needs plain grass, some white marks and two posts.

    I wonder if you know the bad conditions of some south african stadiums. Ppl peeing on the alleys for lack of toilets, just like mineirao stadium in my city. A friend of mine just came back from SA attending four different cities, stating that we could easily host a wc cup by standards we have right now.

    the atmosphere and fans thing, besides being your opinion, doesnt actually play that much of a hole, the public is television! and the proof is that no one have any aidea of the conditions the games were held in SA. The pitch for Holland and Brazil was atrocious for the magnitude and history of that game.

    and most important, we won't have vuvuzelas.

  • Comment number 17.

    ""i wonder if you realise that football only needs plain grass, some white marks and two posts.""

    and a couple cameras

  • Comment number 18.

    It seems on the face of it, at least, that these footballing events (World Cup, Euros to my knowlege, perhaps the ACON and Asian/South American counterpart competitions also) are becoming detrimental to the host countries. They require huge funding and subsidies particularly in countries that are not currently ready with facilities and logistical enterprise. Portugal and Greece have been financially crippled in recent times by hosting the Euro competitions which has left barren and unused complexes as a testiment to the political victory of 'winning' such an honour.

    FIFA clearly doesnt seem to care about how ready or able a country is to host such worldwide spectacles, it's all just a political game. South Africa, while publicised as a roaring success left most of its population not being able to afford tickets and naturally, thousands of empty seats were the result. I am curious as to how the country will use all of the new facilities scratch-built for this one-shot purpose, as well as how exactly hosting the World Cup has improved it's stature financially or indeed in the footballing world.

    If a country is not ready, or even nearly ready to host such an event, they should not be considered - I feel - as it seems to damage the people more than it gives.

  • Comment number 19.


    OK, despite the confusion surrounding the São Paulo Stadium I'd like to point out that Brazil does include other regions than São Paulo or Porto Alegre. Although I do agree that public funding of football stadiums is an open door to corruption, it sounds like you’re defending that the games should only be hosted in the more developed areas of the country. Don't know if that was your intention but that was what I understood.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Tim,
    Great to hear your thought as always. In particular - "Some of this is the product of political in-fighting, the projected new stadium of Corinthians replacing that of Sao Paulo FC, for example" - would be interested to hear your views on this in more detail. Morumbi Stadium is clearly a cheaper option with a much bigger capacity than the proposed stadium at Corinthians. The fact that politics (& corruption) rules everything here does not fill me with confidence.

    I also think that the plans fall victim to a common problem here (in Brazil) of trying to over-complicate everything. Surely 8 cities would be quite sufficient - and still have all parts of the country represented? This would save billions.

  • Comment number 21.

    Of course the WC should only be held in the more developed regions! You tend to find this is where the people are.

    Imagine a world cup in England (or the UK for my example) and having London, with 7.5 million people and a transport infrastructure to die for, as well as the capacity t cope with large numbers of visitors, with 1 host stadium........then have Inverness with 80'000 people and geographically in a very remote region have the same number of stadiums!

    Its crazy. If you host in very undeveloped/remote regions then you will have white elephants, such as the Royal Bafoking stadium in SA now.

    Sao Paulo state is home to something like 20 million people. Its clearly the powerhouse behind brazilian football alongside Rio/Recife/Porto Alegre regions. These are where the people are so that is where the games should be.

    And this is someone who live 20 miles from John O Groats in the far north of the UK tellin you this

  • Comment number 22.

    After the World Cup in SA, I suggest that all future ACNs be played in those stadia. No need for any other country in the continent to throw millions into stadia roads etc when there are fantastic facilities already available.
    Also, FIFA should find a permanent home for the World Cups. How about playing all the matches in Switzerland and Luxemburg? Spending so much money in a third world country on one sporting event defies logic, and is morally questionable. Besides, having a permanent home for these tournaments removes all the guessing, canvassing, intrigue, and corruption etc etc from what is, simply, sports - kicking a ball!

  • Comment number 23.

    Hosting the World Cup could have been a great opportunity for Brazil, if following directives were observed when presenting its candidacy:
    - stadia development to be funded by private investors - with public funding only acceptable in venues with guaranteed revenue stream after the WC;
    - all private infrastructure (such as hotels and other tourist attractions such as theme parks, resorts, shopping areas etc) funded privately;
    - transport infrastructure to be public funded BUT WITH PROVISO THAT regions and cities to receive funding should address a set of criteria that would include: business reasons for investment (such as improvements in the busy Sao Paulo airport terminals), tourist potential after WC (as in the Northeast and Amazon), and reasonable intra-city planning (for example underground and bus lines serving stadia in city areas that in fact need such infrastructure in a post WC scenario). Granted all areas in Brazil need investment in infrastructure but we need to remember extra public funds into the WC would otherwise go into areas that are of much higher priority such as education and hospitals.
    To support such directives, post WC Brazil should be able to use the stadia in their full economic capacity - but how? By boosting its main occupier ie the Brazilial league. A much improved league could potentially fill in the venues after the WC charging ticket prices that would justify the initial investment to host WC games. There are reasons to believe the economy is growing enough to support those objectives in the medium term.
    Also, the public investment in infrastructure would justify itself by the material increase in tourim and business revenue in Brazilian developing cities, after the WC.
    Finally, in this dream scenario, the positive marketing of Brazil as a touristic and business destination would bring massive positive results for years to come.
    instead, we have the scenario so accurately portrayed by Tim. I feel, again, it is an opportunity lost for the country (and the Olympics will surely go in the same direction).
    It will come down in the end to excessive spending by a federal government with a short term populistic agenda, to expensive but still semi-ready stadia that in some cases will become white-elephants (not the first and certainly not the last we will have in this country, though), and to no progress whatsoever to the Brazilian league.

  • Comment number 24.

    A little word also on the more particular subject of Sao Paulo FC loosing the chance to host WC games, since the decision (at this moment, let's not forget things always can change in the very 'volatile' world of Brazilian football) is that the Sao Paulo venue will be the new to-be-built Corinthians ground.

    Morumbi (which belongs to S.PauloFC) is indeed the biggest stadium in Sao Paulo but that does not give it a divine right to host the WC. It is aged and badly in need of improvements, and I personally think it is cold and lacks atmosphere.

    I am fully aware there were very dirty politics behind the decision, but as long as entirely funded by private investors, there is no reason why the new Corinthians stadium should not be the chosen venue.

  • Comment number 25.

    Some excellent points raised here, Tim, and ones which anyone who lives in Brazil (and loves football) will bear out. My big worry for Brazil 2014 is the policing of it. I haven't met one, not one, Brazilian who trusts the police. At matches the police seem very confrontational and even provocative.Tim, you've been to many more matches in Brazil than I have.What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the police will need educating in crowd management etc? Other than that, I agree: Brazil will host a very good World Cup, despite the problems mentioned here.

  • Comment number 26.

    "He has a huge future, providing he can cope with everything that comes his way. He's had one warning - a six-month ban for testing positive for crack."

    Oh how i laughed.

  • Comment number 27.

    Some worrying questions;

    1. Is the football world cup a capitalist venture diametrically opposed to a continent entrenched in socialism?

    2. Will Brazil benefit economically, in the long term, by hosting this sporting event?

    3. Should the consideration of short-term effects on welfare and poverty be a priority over maintaining continental equality in determining the host nation of your football world cup?

    4. What will Hugo Chavez make of all this?

    5. What is a white elephant?

  • Comment number 28.

    Some very pertinent points have been raised in your usual excellent blog on the local scene Tim, which I don't miss reading every week, yourself, as a longtime resident, know as well as I do, that the principal motives that drive the local politics (football is up to the neck in it) is money, money,and yet more money, and there are lot of facts that you & I know that are unable to be printed, for a variety of reasons, but lets see how far I can go without getting moderated.
    Facts - the new corinthians stadium is to built by one of Brasil's largest engineering contacters at no cost to the public (ha ha, it will borrow the funds at low interest rates from the govt. development bank, which is in turn funded by the Indecent taxation costs which are levied on Private companies & the common working & middle class, in other words it's our money, is it a coincidence that the same company has been awarded the contracts to reform or newbuild other stadiums Brasil wide, is it a coincidence that the President Lula is a rabid Corinthians fan ( it was reported in the local press that "he begged" this company to build a new Corinthians stadium, well he got his wish !
    Also as many bloggers have observed there has been very little planning in much needed reforms in public transport both onground & in the air, the bus companies are one of the biggest contributers to political campaigns, result, third world inefficient polluting public transport causing horrific traffic jams with workers arriving exhausted even before they start work, also the govt. refuse to turn the airports over to private enterprise leaving it to political cronies to run, no technical qualifications are needed, you just need to have the necessary political connections, & this is true of all state companies.
    As someone remarked the last Pan American games were a typical example of how the system works, start out with an initial low budget, delay the start of the actual jobs to be carried out and then everything becomes an "emergency" so contracts can be awarded without bidding, only part of the projects are completed in time at astromonic cost to the taxpayer, & most of it will be never be used again for any useful purpose, take my word for it, the same will happen in some respects for the WC, it's ridiculous that so many stadiums will be hardly used again, maybe someone has plans for the biggest gokart franchise of the future, it's possible that Bernie has his hand in all this ?
    Its a crying shame that the govt. hasn't got its act together, this was the golden opportunity to reform the public mass transportation system, aiports, ports highways in fact infrastructure in general, it would boost
    the tourist industry, exports, standard of living etc. but 2 facts are true,a certain class of people will get richer and in spite of the govts incompetency the Brasilian people will make this Cup a resounding success
    And don't worry about violence, they won't allow it to happen.
    Cheers to all & "up the Pool"

  • Comment number 29.

    Re No.21: with all due respect Weezer, you clearly don't know Brazil. All the urban centres that have been chosen to host the games have a population that would rank them as a major city in the UK (and most of them football fanatics!). The population you cite for SP is that of the state capital's metropolitan area. The remote city in the Amazon jungle - Manaus - has a population of over 1.7 million. I may have given the wrong impression when I referred to the regional distribution of the matches to attract tourists to different facets of this hugely diverse country (geographically, Brazil has everything the USA does, and more, but not commercially exploited the way it is there), forgetting that there is still a tendency to think that if it's not in Rio or SP it must be in the middle of the jungle - no offence intended :o)

  • Comment number 30.

    I accept not all of the readers of this blog will be familiar with the economic situation of Brazil, so I would humbly explain, with educational purposes, that it can not be classified as a 'Third World' (BTW a pretty archaic expression) country or generically compared to Africa (though I imagine there are indeed similarities to South Africa) and the rest of South America, and to insist it is is ill-informed at best and borderline prejudicial.
    Brazil has a 200-million population and currently is growing in a quicker pace (certainly not a merit of the current government by itself, but this is not a discussion for a football blog) than in previous decades, already one of the top-10 economies in the world, and recognisably a major player in world's economy and politics in the next years. There is still a large percentage of the population that lives in poverty but the South East/South regions (which is home to almost half the population) are massively urbanised and with social indicators much closer to Europe than to Africa.

    Having said all that, I am still opposed to Brazil holding the WC - as anyone with common sense knew that the scenario described by Tim was very much expectable.

  • Comment number 31.

    Not so sure i agree with you about having the WC in another developing so soon after the last one. It would make more sense to have it every third WC, so that FIFA would make serious money in a fully developed country like England Spain Australia Germany Japan Italy USA. These countries need very minor adjustments to be up to speed to hold a profitable WC. The profit from these world cups could then be invested in the selected developing country.
    Personally I would be delighted if Sep Blatter's final fanfare is a dreadful world cup in Brazil. The man is so anti English its laughable, nothing about the man and his FIFA cronies is a level playing field.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Tim,
    Firstly i'd like to agree with you regarding fifa's handling of world cups. I was recently in South Africa and have relatives and friends there. Everyone i spoke to spoke with disgust regarding fifa at their recent tournament. Very very little money was invested back into some of the poorer communities in South Africa, and the government was made to pay for many of the more costly ventures made, while fifa took tv rights as you said. Fifa will really have to up its game when it comes to dealing with poorer nations and world cups, although despite to rich poor divide in Brazil, they can hardly be considered a poor or underdeveloped nation.

    After that rant,
    Who the heck is this kid Sandro who Spurs have bought off internacional? not covered at all by the Brit press and doesn't really seem very characteristic 'Arry. Can you help us out?

  • Comment number 33.

    #6- Overall, the biggest concern here in Brazil isn't about our capacity to host the games; rather, it's about the price we'll pay for it and the rampant corruption involved.

  • Comment number 34.

    @Dr Wang

    5. What is a white elephant?

    A White elephant refers to an expensive project that ends up being more costly than it is worth because they can find no use for said project. For example a lot of the stadiums in South Korea/Japan and now South Africa sit empty or are only filled by a handful of fans for domestic matches yet they cost millions to build and probably still cost millions every year to maintain.

    Don't have a good answer for your other questions, but not sure if Chavez will mind too much he didn't mind hosting the last Copa America!! - another perfect example of white elephants (Barquisimeto's stadium didn't have a roof when I watched the Copa QF there - I'd be surprised if they ever finished it and doubt it has been full for a football match since)!

  • Comment number 35.

    The system and laws of bidding on government funded projects in Brazil will mean long delays and legal litigations as the stadiums and infrastructure contracts will be a giant opportunity for corruption, bribery and theft of vast amounts of public funds. That is the status quo here in Brazil, I've lived here more than 20 years and have first hand experience of the system.
    The tournament will go ahead but will be unrecognisable from the original plan submitted to FIFA.

    It is time that World Cup tournaments got back to reality and stop building fantastic modern stadiums which are useless after the few weeks of the tournament, as happened in Korea and Japan and South Africa.

  • Comment number 36.

    I tell you what though, it is fascinating to see how much we don't actually know about Brazil.

  • Comment number 37.

    "But I also wonder how much of this has taken place on purpose. All these delays have created a need for urgency. The prestige of the country is on the line, and so the government steps in to pay for things which were not supposed to be its responsibility - such as stadiums."

    Tim, You have absolutely nailed it. Just look at the fiasco of Commonwealth games hosted in Delhi. The costs shot up tenfold. Massive amount of money is being creamed off by corrupt politicians and officials. There will be an inquiry set up, but everyone knows it will be just eye-wash.

    Big sporting events awarded to developing countries are actually big burdens on already struggling people.

  • Comment number 38.

    @Weezer #21: actually, São Paulo State has 40 million people. São Paulo city (the contigous urban area that includes the municipalities of São Paulo and some 10 other municipalities) is the one with 20 million people.

    Aside that:

    - Rio Grande do Sul State: 11 million
    Porto Alegre (municipality): 1.3 million
    Porto Alegre Metro: 4 million

    - Minas Gerais State: 20 million
    Belo Horizonte (municipality): 2.4 million
    Belo Horizonte Metro: 5.2 million

    - Rio de Janeiro State: 15 million
    Rio de Janeiro municipality: 6 million
    Rio de Janeiro metro: 11 million

  • Comment number 39.

    @19: I am defending PRIVATE stadiums. And the exclusion of the white elephants. Notice I never talked about Rio or BH because they are using public stadiums... so where exactly did you found your theory I am preaching hosting the games only on the richer brazilian stadiums?

  • Comment number 40.


    Well there you go. With 40 million people that puts it not far behind spain in population and off the top of my head makes it more populous than any other nation on the continent. It could feasibly host a world cup on its own.

    Absurd that they are going out to the amazon. I an only assume the state based nature of the Brazil FA means they have to do it.

    Brazil needs to get into the 20th century with its administration. Then they can think about getting into the 21st.

  • Comment number 41.

    Oh dear.....
    Here in the Amazon we are quite one has eaten a relative in years...and we have schools roads and everything!!!!
    Not useing the Amazon states is on a par with not going to the north of England if they get the 2018 tournament.
    Its in Brasil..not in the main two cities!
    Someone earlier said it is suprising how little everyone knows about Brasil..and that is confirmed by the narrow blinkered views of some of the posts here.
    Yes, it will be expensive , yes probably it will be hit by corruption scandals..but this is not unique to Brasil.
    WE ARE NOT A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY ..we are as entitled to hold this tournament as any other country north or south of the equator.

  • Comment number 42.

    It´s true that there are scares before virtually every major sporting event but in Brazil´s case they are justified. Aside from the problems of building or upgrading the stadiums themselves, transport in Brazil is a nightmare.

    The air system is bursting at the seams and few airports are used to dealing with international flights so visitors have to come in through São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.

    Arriving at São Paulo is a grind and there is minimal information to help the foreign visitor who has better get used to queues. I spent almost two hours last year jammed with thousands of other passengers in the corridors and stairs leading from the plane to the immigration area.

    Even at international airports, most people do not speak English. There is also nil security in terms of police or soldiers.

    There is no rail network to whizz visitors around the country. The highways are in terrible shape (except for some toll roads in São Paulo state) and most drivers do not have licenses or insurance so accidents are common. Truck and bus drivers routinely run away after crashing into other vehicles and leave their victims dead or dying.

    Don´t even think of driving unless you have experience of doing so in similar countries. Expect to be overcharged if you hire a car because you are a foreigner.

    There are good inter-city buses but they are usually packed, particularly those heading up to the Northeast or Minas Gerais as migrants head to or from their home areas. Service areas are grim to say the least.

    Having said all that, Brazil is a great holiday destination and Brazilians´ enthusiasm for football is contagious but be prepared for culture shock on a scale as massive as the size of the country.

  • Comment number 43.


    I sincerely hope you arent comparing the amazon to the north or england! 1 is a wilderness with a low population, poor infrastructure and not to mention very little in the way of top level football or transport facilites, if any. The other is just a region of one of the world richest nations, complete with world class stadia like old trafford, old St james park to name but two.

    My point is that is a waste of public money. It would be like the govt paying for a 40000 seater stadia in the outer hebrides for a tournament! Utter abject waste of money, and in a country which has far more pressing concerns.

  • Comment number 44.

    #43 You are right saying you can't compare the North of England with the Amazon.
    One is a wilderness with destitute people living in poverty and misery with no hope of improving their lives in an area ignored by government and starved of investment forcing the indigenous people to migrate South in search of a living. The other is the Amazon.

  • Comment number 45.

    @42 "Even at international airports, most people do not speak English."

    really!? do you mean these silly foreigners don't speak english in their own non-english speaking country??? shocking!!!!

    what's FIFA thinking!!

  • Comment number 46.

    #43 you are right anyone would be loathe to compare the north of Brazil with the north of England.
    I think that it has been pretty well established by now that what is moving host cities selection at this point is pretty much politics rather than any sense of economic or logistic planning.

    However, even if the WC was properly planned, it would not be that ilogical to choose a northern city as Manaus as one of the host cities. You need to remember one of the main objectives of hosting the WC is for the country to advertise itself as a major tourist destination and as such it needs to play to its strenghts - i.e. the obvious appeal of the rain forest as an attraction for foreigners.

    As much as a city in the south of Brazil like Porto Alegre has a much better structure than Manaus, and competitive football to fully utilise the venues after the WC, it unfortunately lacks tourist drive - what would all the visitors do while not going to football matches?

    There is also the social need to allocate investment (not in stadia as this has a limited use after the event, but in airports, local transport needs, general town planning etc.) in such regions precisely because they are less developed. In many ways, to further invest in areas like Sao Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul will contribute to broaden the gap between them and areas such as the Amazon and the North East, whereas the WC should be the opportunity to do exactly the contrary. In that sense, the cost of a white elephant in such cities can be seen as a minor side effect in the grand scheme of things.

    Like I have previously put it, the candidate host cities should provide a balance between touristic appeal, stadium capacity to generate revenue after the WC, and social and business need to receive investments in areas other than stadia. If one city lacks in one criteria, it should be able to counterbalance in the others.

    But, as I can't stress enough and as Tim has already accurately explained, this unfortunately is simply not happenning, all is being done in a haste and political influences and public money are the main players at the moment.

  • Comment number 47.


    I can see your point, that this is a huge funding boost for such remote areas. I however still believe it should be held where the poeple are, mainly because tose places have the infrastructure. All every well having a shiny stadium 3000 miles from do you get to it?

    having said that, by the sounds of some posts even sao paolo is a ngihtmare to get around so I suppose in that case your as well as playing anywhere!

    However.....I really hope Brazl pulls it sll together. And I hope even more the teams does too. We are all still waiting on brazil showing us what 11 men and a ball can really do!

  • Comment number 48.

    Weezer @ 40 and 43: can I suggest you read my contributions at 12 and 29 as I think they could clear up a lot of your misconceptions. Then I recommend a visit to Brazil, as I am 100% certain you will be pleasantly surprised. I do agree with you wholeheartedly about the more pressing concerns, but if we all put football at its due level of importance in life, the game probably wouldn't be able to sustain itself (despite Bill Shankly's famous words to the contrary).
    @ 42: I sympathize with the fact your views are evidently coloured by negative personal experience, but I have a friend who was mugged on her first day in London - and doesn't still believe the city is a dangerous place per se. I too would recommend visitors don't hire cars, unless they come with a driver who speaks their language fluently. But I've always been impressed by the inter-city bus service, which is actually more comfortable than a plane, but gets tiring after the first 4hrs - and avoid the on-board bathroom; use the ones at the stopovers.
    As for the language, Brazilians by nature generally want to help strangers and are extremely willing to try and use foreign languages (English still the most common, after Spanish, despite Lula taking it off the school curriculum). They worry terribly that their English isn't very good and I've always made a point of telling them "Look, you're trying to speak their language in your country! Who cares if it isn't perfect".

  • Comment number 49.

    thanks brasil2014 ..was just about to write the same.
    As for people at the airports not speaking english ..must be as frustrating as arriving in england and not finding a portugese speaker.

  • Comment number 50.

    Have you actualy been here?.. or is your "knowledge" based on the old old story of what you see on the tv ? The Amazon region is a thriving growing and safe place to live is not a wilderness it has busy cities and very friendly educated people.Please do not sit there in GB telling us what we have ,have not , can and can not do.
    Do not think to critisise somewhere until you have been there.

  • Comment number 51.

    I tried not to comment, I really did. But then Weezer316 appeared.

    First point (as LostInBrazil says) is that the World Cup is a national event, not a city based one like the Olympics. So obviously it should encompass as much as possible of the country as a whole.

    Second point is the Rio/SP leanings of Tim´s blog. It´s not necessarily his fault - the entire Brazilian national media is like this. Though I did wince a bit when hearing Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza portrayed as a collection of beach villages on the radio show last week. All have populations of between three and four million people (greater metropolitan areas) and fantastically rich local cultures. Residents of Salvador, twice the size of Manchester, would have been particularly surprised to hear that their city was still in the process of "becoming quite a big city". All this helps along the myth that the non Rio/SP part of the country is living in mud huts and chomping on fried monkey, and encourages those who might not know too much about Brazil to come out with lines such as "it´s like building a stadium in the Outer Hebrides" in reference to the Amazonian or MT stadia. Manaus has a population of 1.7 million, putting it on a level with the second tier of British cities. Cuiabá is around half a million. Hardly South Uist.

    Thirdly and most importantly is that the north and north east of the country has long been the "ugly sister" of the south and south east, suffering through decades of neglect, with investment and development concentrated elsewhere. The region trails the south of the country in every social indicator although since Lula things have been improving through public and private investment and government social support programmes. This inequality is a direct cause of urban violence in cities like Rio and SP as millions of impoverished economic migrants head south so creating the sprawling favelas. The north and north east needs investment, even if the World Cup might not be the best vehicle for this. But stadium construction will create jobs, tourists will come, and the profile of each city will be boosted. #16 - perhaps that´s why people from MT were celebrating - for once they´ll be invited to the party, instead of watching events in Rio and SP on Globo. Perhaps the stadium will become a white elephant. Perhaps it won´t. If it is, it will be neither the first nor the last.

    Though having said all that, I still don´t get why Manaus got it and not Belém....

  • Comment number 52.

    @51: I don't want to politicise this blog, but investment and social programs to improve the NE of Brazil began long before Lula came to power, so please don't prolong this myth. And the World Cup will further strengthen that development. As for under-used stadiums, I have long advocated doing away with the state championships in favour of the regionalizing of the (continental sized) country's lower tier (while still giving regional sides the chance to meet big clubs in the national Cup). That way, you'd have two national divisions and perhaps 5 regional groupings, with play-offs determining promotion to the national 2nd division. That way, the new stadiums would remain important regional venues, and not merely the domain of one lower tier club.

  • Comment number 53.

    I feel for Brazilian people and media because this is what they will have to endure for the next four years. Constant criticism of everything from their stadia to the the airports will be the order of the day from British media. You will have to defend your country from couch potatoes who never left their front doors telling you how bad your country is.

    I am glad the world cup is over in South Africa as I could not bear the unwarranted criticism anymore. As it is, some on this blog have called our stadiums white elephants barely a month after the world.

    For your information Cape Town stadium had 45000 fans for the opening premier league match. Polokwane and Mbombela are hosting rugby matches. Mbombela will be hosting the opening AFCON 2012 qualifier between Niger and Bafana Bafana. Soccer City just hosted the Springboks and the All Blacks. Moses Mabhida was used for the Amazulu and PMB United match. So white elephants indeed!!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    53. I have seen plenty of positive British media coverage of both Brazil and South Africa, not just in relation to football. Yes there's been negative coverage but that's what a free media is all about. The BBC World Cup coverage included a number of reports from in and around South Africa, trying to give a picture of the nation behind the World Cup.

    You don't need me to tell you that many British/English people, including many in the media, along with many other nationalities, campaigned for years against apartheid. They got up off their couches, and left their front doors. Hardly the actions of individuals with an "entitlement mentality". That's your description of the English on 15th May 2010.

    As you know England has not hosted a World Cup since 1966. I can't help feeling that if my fellow countrymen and women had the sense of entitlement you describe, then England would not have had to wait so long for a chance to host another.

  • Comment number 55.

    52 - Ah - an FHC man! I don´t envy you - it´s a hard cross to bear, doomed to wander the earth for all eternity muttering "but I thought of it first", "why does he get all the credit" and "bloody 80% approval ratings"...

    I liked the rest of your points though, particularly the regionalisation of the lower divisions. They´re already regionalised to an extent though not identified or marketed as such - teams in Serie D will only play regional rivals until the quarter finals (I think). I am still a fan of the state championships for the culture and history they represent, though they are hideously bloated and disorganised and most should at the very least be chopped in half. As for the stadia, it´s not at all impossible that new stadiums in cities like Manaus or Cuiabá could be used as a regional hub for a rejuvenated local football market, not to mention rock concerts, gospel shows etc. Now there´s optimism for you.

    Oh and as for the airports - they´re not that bad. Anecdotal evidence along the lines of "I had to wait ages for my bag" isn´t constructive or helpful at all.

  • Comment number 56.

    @52 BLRBrazil we have disagreed in the past but now I fully agree with you on both counts - I have also thought that the regionalization of Brazilian 3rd, and maybe even 2nd tier (my personal prefered plan would be to have 36 or 32 clubs in the second division split in two groups - a North and a South one. This would revive the very succesful North/Northeast cups that took place in the beginning of the noughties) is a great idea. Secondly, your comment on the merits of the previous Brazilian administration are well remembered.

    @55 typical of Lula supporters to dismiss said merits with ridiculous ironies such as yours. Had the current government followed all of FHC administration's good ways (not only in economy) Brazil would be in a better shape and perhaps even the WC organization would be more sensible than what we currently witness.

  • Comment number 57.

    Relevant and insightful comments this week - cheers to rjh5000 for some answers, collie, weezer and the classic line form Brazil2014.

    I think most us are batting on the same team for this one- should probably leave the amazon argument alone unless you have specific knowledge of the area but the main sentiment is -

    even the football fans are questioning the negative effects of the game on society, I would love to see the world cup in brazil but people come first.

    Attending top flight football matches is just too expensive for the working class and I can see only one solution - caps

    - a salary cap for footballers, coaches, and executives

    - a cap on ticket prices

    - and a cap on the number of new, expensive, kits that are introduced

    Reclaim football for the people!

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm going to throw a pedantic spanner in the works now I've had a read.

    These stadia cannot be described as white elephants and even the South Africa comparision bears no meaning.

    The reasons for building the stadia will not be 'out-moded' by the end of wc2014. This is because they are 'fit for purpose', the purpose being to host WC matches, these matches will (most probably!) take place. Fifa and Brazil govt. are currently well aware that there is no plan for after this.

    You could argue the purpose of building a stadium cannot be for hosting a handful of games, but the authorities will be hoping for REVERSE WHITE ELEPHANTISM, a 'remoding' (another new word) of future purpose such as private investment or club relocation during the next 4 or so years, all of which appears unlikely and unfruitful.

  • Comment number 59.

    Tim, apologies as your article is not about this issue, but I would like to register my congratulations to the almighty SC Corinthians Paulista that tomorrow celebrates its 100th anniversary.

    I am a proud Corinthians fan and have tried to register my sentiment in blogs of Brazilian journalists, but the vile and poorness of spirit of anti-Corinthians fans makes it umcomfortable read in a day when I think all should be congratulating a truly great footballing giant. I am sure you will have thousands of Brazilian followers that are not Corinthians supporters, but as I have seen a lot more level headedness from this lot I am sure they will join me in celebration.

    I have lived in the UK for 5 years now, and keep being asked which team I support in this country. My reply is and will always be the same... I can't really love or care for any other club other than the almighty Timao.

  • Comment number 60.

    #55 - Ridiculous ironies - high praise indeed! It´s a bit odd how you can argue with such conviction that a previous administration would be more successful than a current one as it´s all hypothetical and the world and its challenges change all the time. But as BLRBrazil says, let´s stick to the football.

    As for the Copa/Campeonato Do Nordeste, it´s already back in a half-arsed way, with CSA and ABC the leaders. No-one seems to care much though, with most teams playing their reserves and understandably concentrating on Series A to D. Perhaps it wasn´t the best idea to start it in the middle of the World Cup.

  • Comment number 61.

    #13 Arena da Baixada is now a full stadium with four sides.

  • Comment number 62.

    #49: not a very bright comment. English is a, maybe THE World language. Portuguese (which I speak fluently, by the way) isn´t.

    #28: Stan Matthews: does that make 2 Pool supporters here in Brazil? UP THE POOL! IN OLLIE WE TRUST!!

  • Comment number 63.

    My point , which I was trying to make, was that it is typical of the English ( and I am an Englishman) to arrive in another country and expect them to speak the language..I made the comparison of a Brasillian arriving at Heathrow and expecting everyone to speak Portugese.
    I agree that English is probably the world language, but that does not make it compulsory to be spoken by every person.
    Actually, the porportion of Brasillians learning English is very high
    ( congrats on your Portugese fluency..Hardest language I ever learnt!)

    With you thats 3 ´pool supporters I know of here.

  • Comment number 64.

    thanks to all for some excellent comments - apologies probably due for my South East Brazil bias.

    Would be nice to have some more comments from South Africa.

  • Comment number 65.

    @53: nice to see feedback on post-World Cup South Africa from s/o on the spot. The overwhelming impression I got is that the success of the event helped bring the people together and gave them a sense of pride and 'we can do it' mentality. Would that be a fair comment.
    @55: more fed up with hearing the PT claim credit for everything since fire and the wheel, especially after they blocked so many attempted improvements on political grounds, but the foundations for the 'new Brazil' actually began under the Collor government - but we don't mention that name anymore, do we :o)
    As for the state championships, I feel they're no more than a training phase to organise teams for when the real business starts, and local bragging rights aren't sufficient justification for such a crowded calendar.
    @57: you're going to have to go 'caps' in hand to FIFA then, but I can't see you getting any joy there. Good sense on the part of the paying public tends to be a more powerful weapon than artificial legislated restrictions anyway.
    That's Hartlepool is it? Yeah, great team! :o)
    @59: while it would be churlish not to join in congratulating Corinthians on their centenary, I have personally been turned off the club by two things: i) an outstandingly corrupt past administration - in a sport that is notorious for its corruption - now it's hopefully s/t of the past and never to return; and ii) suspicion of manipulative favouritism, notably back in 2005 and now rearing its ugly head again. As an example, I heard that Vitoria had had a legitimate equaliser ruled out on Sunday. So I watched the VT and the entire incident had been cut - hardly transparency! I'll admit that, on the basis of what I saw, Coringa fully deserved to win, but what worries me is what I didn't see, because it had been edited out. I respect your loyalty - I too have stuck with my childhood team, though I've adopted a local favourite that shares basically the same values (and is just as frustrating to support!). No, not Hartlepool :o)

  • Comment number 66.


    I spent 6 weeks in South Africa and had a wonderful time and was overwhelmed by the hospitality of everybody I met, but I'm going to have to argue about the stadiums.

    Obviously Cape Town and Soccer City will get full houses for rugby and maybe some major PSL matches. But I don't believe that 70,000 people showed up in Durban for a PSL game, and what is Royal Bafokeng being used for. Regardless of the fact it was privately funded, it was a joke that Rustenburg was used as a host city considering it had no way of accommodating everybody so those of us who had to take the one lane road from Pretoria and Jo'burg spent 4 hours in traffic over 120 kms!!! This kind of experience is not what fans want and it would be a shame to see this repeated in Brazil by choosing places without the proper infrastructure or means of preparing themselves in time.

    This is nothing against South Africa or her people, but more aimed at FIFA and the South African Government who could have spent less on advertising/corporate hospitality and more on the average fan. To end the rant I sat in Bloemfontein watching Honduras vs Switzerland and the attendance was 28,042 - I couldn't belive a World Cup game was only half full?!?!? Again FIFA are to blame for insisting on selling the tickets over the internet until the last minute.

  • Comment number 67.

    I believe Brazil will host a brilliant World Cup, what us south americans may lack in infraestructure and organization, we compensate it with passion, friendliness and doing everything in our hands to give the visitors the best impression of our countries. However, I think for 2018 and 2022, FIFA will play it safe and my guess is that those events will go to England and Australia. After all the speculation of SA 2010, Brazil 2014 and Ukraine/Poland 2012, I think Blatter and company will not gamble and do the safe thing as UEFA did, awarding the Euro 2016 to France.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    @ LostInBrazil #41

    if there were no big clubs in Northern England, and they had to build white elephant stadiums with public money in northern england for 2018, then NO, the World Cup 2018 shouldnt go to northern England.

  • Comment number 70.

    Re post 68. Sorry BBC I forgot that there must be no outright attacking or accusing Our Leader (Sepp Blatter) of anything other than whiter than white dealings whilst the 2018 bidding process is under way. Once again, my SINCERE apologies

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    @65 BLRBrazil… the good work now undone… you mention Collor as a positive influence (please!) and one paragraph later takes the moral high ground to condone corruption associated with Corinthians. Do let me know about one popular club in Brazil, no, actually, in the world, that has not been associated with corruption and political manipulation. This is not a privilege of Corinthians. If you are going to be so self righteous about it, might as well simply not follow football at all. As a side note, in the three games before the Vitoria one all refereeing mistakes were against Corinthians - did you watch the VT for these ones as well?
    My point anyway had been that what millions of Corinthians fans (and also fans of other clubs) should be sharing in celebration today are the memories of football glories and tragedies, the many great players and also the not so great but that still fought with the team all the way, the Socrates and Rivellinos, but why not the Biro-Biros and Ezequiels. These memories are all of events and moments inside the four lines and in the stands surrounding them, not of board rooms or shadowy alleys. Corinthians has such a rich history and epitomises Brazilian football, with all that is good and bad about it. World football would surely be a lot poorer without Timao and all I would ask of a non-Corinthians fan is to have the intelligence to recognise it or risk undermining his/her own allegiance.
    I also invite any non-Brazilian football fan that wishes to know more about our rich heritage to start doing so by learning about this true football giant (which, by the way, got its name from an amateur side located not far from where I live today - Corinthian Casuals FC from Surrey).

  • Comment number 73.

    'to condone corruption' - I meant the contrary 'to condemn'

  • Comment number 74.

    Those people claiming that the 2014 tournament will result in several white elephant stadia shouldn't forget that England's bid for 2018 includes the construction of new stadia in Bristol, Nottingham and Plymouth and an expansion of the one in Milton Keynes that are likely to as white and elephantine as anything in Brazil.

  • Comment number 75.

    You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of countries that can follow all of FIFA's rules for hosting the World Cup without having to purpose-build pointless white elephants. Just look through the bids for 2018 and 2022 and it's obvious, even in countries like England and Spain. Do cities like Milton Keynes, Badajoz, Ghent and Yaroslavl need 40,000 capacity stadiums? No, no, no and no.

    The problem isn't with Brazil. The problem is with the rules they have to follow. FIFA needs to relax their rules a little and allow smaller stadiums, or bids spanning more countries. Until they do, unused, empty stadiums are going to be a legacy of every world cup.

  • Comment number 76.

    #63 lostinbrazil:ok, point taken! Are you a tangerine, too? Let's get a Pool fan club started up over here!Thanks again!!

  • Comment number 77.

    I agree huge investements will have to be made so as to have an at-least descent World Cup. Your article and comments are real and should worry taxpayers as well as organisers - but most things in Brazil are done in the nick of time, which is a shame. I'm not sure the problem is sorting out stuff at the very last moment so that taxpayers will pay more, but this seems to be done mostly because corruption will be more difficult to appear. Again another shame for my so-beloved country.

    However, I do believe the long term effects for stadiums in the most remote areas (and I'm not sure how remote Manaus is with almost 2m inhabitants now), are great. Not only is football in Brazil a passion, but I'd say it can also be considered some sort of vessel for hope and achievement. Boys see a future when playing, watching or just talking about football. Footballers are becoming more educated and famous, especially popular ones are contributing R$ and emotially to that. Having a stadium in the city shows there can be investments in the so-beloved sport in the country/world.

    As it has been said before, the World Cup will be fantastic. It is a show for itself and added to the Brazilian lifestyle and gentleness, I cannot think of anything more 'flattering'. For those interested in coming to World Cup, I strongly recommend you come and visit the smallest, most remote places. Sao Paulo is much like London, Mexico City and similar others. Almost 20m people, lots of buildings and similar things - good, big, interesting place but similar to many others, a Brazilian would say. Come 'n' Enjoy some time at the beaches around Recife, Fortaleza or get the know the most wonderful landscapes in Cuiaba (Pantanal area) and Manaus (Amazon Forest). You will discover they don't have much to do with the films shown so far. If you are going to Sao Paulo, visit the cities around, too.

  • Comment number 78.

    @72: Alex, there is a huge difference between what I said and what you interpreted re Collor. It is a fact that many of the measures that helped transform Brazil into a better, stronger country were introduced under his government. Unfortunately, he nearly brought the whole thing crumbling down, to the point where his name today should bring the same sort of shudders that Nixon's does in the USA.
    As for Corinthians, I didn't single them out - they happened to be the topic of conversation. I agree with you that it is not easy to find clean clubs in a corrupt system - especially successful ones. And I did say that I hoped that was a thing of the past, with their 'new' administration in place. I really cannot comment on the current season, but have noticed complaints of them being favoured, at least in home games. But let's put that aside for now and enjoy your centenary celebrations. I fully agree with you that it's a top club - undoubtedly one of the continent's biggest - with a great history, and that it is much more than the stars (though there have been some great ones) who have helped to build that legacy. Have a good party my friend!

  • Comment number 79.

    @78 BLRBrazil, thanks, shudders indeed! though Nixon at least retreated to obscurity whereas some sinister figures of the Brazilian past, Collor, Sarney and Quercia included, insist to haunt us - as a matter of fact by joining the Lula bandwagon who dismally welcomes them). But, alas, let's draw a line under this Collor debate, probably meaningless to most.

    I accept you have not singled out Corinthians, like you I hope too that current and future administrations of my team and of Brazilian football in general are clean though I'm always a bit cynical. But today let's not worry about that and as you suggest have a good party.

  • Comment number 80.

    What are the general views of the Brazilian, and South American contributors, or those living, and working in Brazil as to the likely cost of tickets for the World Cup matches?

    My concern is that people will be priced out of attending, what for many, could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have the same fears for the 2018 World Cup, particularly if it is held in England or Russia.

    Is there a very real likelihood that unless there is some national and/or regional government pressure, the ordinary working Brazilian fan/supporter will miss out? Is this already happening?

    I'll stand corrected but I understand that ticket prices for club matches in Brazil, in relative terms, are expensive. From what I have read there is real concern about the future financial stability of the game in Brazil. In this respect I am genuinely shocked by the salaries quoted for Ronaldo, and Deco.

    I'm sure this is a concern in other parts of South America, if not among club administrators, then certainly among many supporters. There are many similarities with the game in Europe, but those in power seem content to just carry on. In short as long as a particular group can afford to attend matches, then why worry?

    From my own point of view I think Brazil will put on a marvellous World Cup, and that it will be a "Brazilian" World Cup, in every sense. It could even be a turning point for the world game, and the way it is played and enjoyed.

    The World Cup where football was finally returned to everyone whatever their class. That would be a tremendous legacy.

  • Comment number 81.

    @80: it's a bit early to be talking about ticket prices, as many of the stadiums haven't yet been built and, more worryingly, we have no idea what the final bill is going to be. However, I will be extremely annoyed if we find the local population priced out of the market, while games take place in front of less than capacity crowds (if they're all full, despite exorbitant prices, I'll be disappointed to have to watch elsewhere, but at least the country should recoup some of its investment). Let's hope that FIFA has learned at least that lesson from SA.
    I too am shocked by the amounts being paid to some players. The club doesn't usually bear that much of the burden, however, as putting the funding together involves quite a lot of imaginative partnerships, including private sponsorship and advertising. Players don't 'belong' to clubs the way they do in Europe either - there's a whole host of stakeholders. Might be a good topic for a future blog, eh Tim???

  • Comment number 82.

    81. Thank you for the response. I should have mentioned the potential cost of the stadia/infrastructure costs, and any subsequent effect on ticket prices. I looked at this again following my posting, and the point about ticket prices was discussed in South Africa, with an English fans representative.

    There is an article in a national newspaper dated 10th July 2010, which refers to an agency already having exclusive ticketing rights in 2014. Other contributors who haven't seen it may wish to take a look. I just hope my suspicions this far out are wrong, and the ordinary supporter doesn't pay the price, by not being able to pay the price.

  • Comment number 83.

    Hi Tim, my first time coemmenting on one of your blogs, I live in Mexico so have an idea of how things progress in the developing world.

    I agree that Brazil will pull it together in time, you can do a lot in 4 years when people start working to together, however, I don't see that as being the biggest problem for World Cup 2014.

    I think we would all agree that South Africa did a pretty good job at getting ready for the World Cup and running it but they were sabotaged by FIFA.

    I refer to the Jabulani and backward thinking on the use of technology and player cheating. These are much bigger challenges for the world cup and football in general.

    I've lost a lot of interest in the sport for these reasons.

  • Comment number 84.

    This is just a taster for the Olympics. Passion for football and the cover of Carnaval with just make the WC work but the Olympics in Rio - fala serio!!

  • Comment number 85.

    with = will!

  • Comment number 86.

    I think what happened in South Africa with the empty seats doesn't relate with whether the tickets were expensive or not. It deals with the fact that football is not South Africa's main sport whereas in Brazil it is. Watching the Rugby 3 nations you could see full stadiums in SA, the difference was that most of the people were white and their favourite sport is rugby. In Brazil almost everybody loves football and when you love football, you know that the world cup is the ultimate experience and you don't care if Slovenia is playing Algeria you save and you go to the match, specially if it is in your hometown. Plus, europeans think of South America as a dump, and when they come down here, they realize that yes, there is poverty, but also there is wealth. The thing here is that the wealth is bad distributed.

  • Comment number 87.

    @86 Vader - Brazilians love of football will make them more interested in watching any WC game? are you sure about that?

    I think that it is quite the opposite, Brazilians long-time involvement with football makes us if anything more demanding and in my opinion a lot more cynical about the less traditional sides. That makes me believe very few people will be interested to pay fortunes to watch Slovenia and Algeria.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    Why my comment was moderated? i broke no house rules.just bad to feel ive wasted precious time writing that long post.

  • Comment number 90.

    Some people say that the World Cup shouldn't have gone to Brazil because the country doesn't have the infrastructure...
    But Brazil has something that we in England doesn't have which is the most important: money!!

    Brazil may not have the infrastructure and the process of building one may be slow, but the economy is booming and money is certainly not the issue right now...

    However, it is good a thing that England already has the infrastructure in place because the country is financially broke... England doesn't have the financial resources to build big projects like Brazil is doing WITHOUT increasing its debts even further high to the sky...

    Remember the cuts in public service, VAT 20% next year, shops closing down and banks dismissing people all the time, the cost of maintaining a war and a foreign debt which is the 2nd biggest in the world ??? Brazil doesn't have those ...

    In fact, the Brazilian economy is set to overtake the UK and France's in the next few years.. so certainly, money is not the issue right now...

    I think you people criticise so much Brazil because the country is doing so well while England is losing its place in the world... sure, the progress for the world cup is being slow but they have the resources to get it done...

    And as for this article, rather than criticising the speed of projects, why not wait to do so for the finished product ?!

    It seems to me there is some jealousy in the air....

  • Comment number 91.

    interesting...scrolling past the picture of a rubble-strewn stadium, i said to myself "i bet that's manaus". i caught this year's final on telly while staying there in july and i was immensely surprised to hear it'd been selected as a finals stadium. it's an awesome city, plenty of tourist things to do in the jungle and whatnot, but it does suffer from a lot of inequality and unless you wanna take a 3 day boat from colombia or a 20 hour bumpy coach from venezuela, you'll have to fly in.

    that said, my brief stay in brazil convinced me to come back in '14 for my first WC. it really is an awesome country.

    what's the story on the mooted extra qualifying spot for a SA country? i've been living in venezuela of late and they're all very excited about their chances in a group without brazil.

  • Comment number 92.

    "Bills rise as clock ticks down for Brazil"

    Isn't this what happens with almost every single host nation of WC, Olympics, etc. Always the same story. The difference is that Tim started a lot earlier than usual.

    Funnily enough, hosts always end up doing enough to finish on time.

    So let's move on to a football article, shall we?

  • Comment number 93.

    Yes, I totally agree with BladeRunner.. This happens to all projects.. I remember the Euro Channel tunnel had delays from start to end and the costs soared to way more than they had planned...

    It happens to all big projects.. In Dubai, the same happened...

    It is very unfortunate that some people in England still think England is that superior than Brazil so it deserves the WC more..

    As for the author here, yes Brazil didn't have any scrutiny when it was chosen for the WC because of FIFA's old system to rotate continents, but, having said that, Brazil won the right to host the Olympics after England with all the scrutiny that the WC selection didnt have.. so what makes you believe or assume that Brazil wouldn't win the WC if the selection system was different?

    And for the people who say England is prepared with the infrastructure, better make sure the WC is held in the winter in England because every summer I get stranded somewhere in Midlands because the ancient train tracks expand during the hot days and therefore trains always get cancelled... All accidents with trains in England are due to derailing... and on top of that, delays are frequent because trains cannot go over a modest speed limit because the tracks just can't take it unlike the rest of Europe..

    So, think again when you folks say that England is prepared...

    I know Brazil is not prepared but at least they have more money to spend on whatever infrastructure is necessary and England just can't afford spending any money anymore..

    People are not aware how messy England is right now... So let me clarify things here:

    England's economy by GDP (2009) is the 6th largest in the world valued at 2,180 trillion dollars..
    Brazil's economy is the 8th by the way..

    However, England has a foreign debt (which is the 2nd highest in the world) at 9 trillion dollars..

    So make the maths here: 9trillion in debt minus 2,180 trillion which is the economy then you have -6,820 trillion

    This is the real value of England's economy today: -6,820 trillion..

    The press hasn't given the figures of the UK external debt probably so it doesn't scare people.. but what happened to Greece is nothing compared to what will happen in the UK..

    So those people saying Brazil has bad administration and a corrupt government, i urge you to have a look at your own backyard, as its been proven England is not corruption free and an economy which is worth -6,820 trillion dollars, that is certainly the perfect definition of bad administration..

    Brazil with so many problems as pointed out by some people here, has managed to shift 1/3 of its population from severe poverty to middle class and as I read in another articles by BBC itself, they will shift another third to middle class by 2016..
    And here in England, the government has managed to shift people from middle class to poverty.. Unemployment rates soaring, job cuts everywhere, and the government even encouraged university graduates immigrate to other countries for jobs..

    I believe England has to sort out its huge problems first like Brazil did and is doing, before English people can host a WC...

  • Comment number 94.

    @93 I am Brazilian but I for one dont feel outraged that people question our capacity...
    You are loathe to say Brazil 'has more money' than England or Great Britain. Have you ever compared a Brazilian state school with a British one? A Brazilian state hospital with a NHS one? The Brazilian affodable housing (does that even exist??) with the UK housing benefits system?? Actually have you compared Brazil's GDP per capita with the UK one?? Have you ever compared the gap between rich and poor Brazilians??

    The rates in which the Brazilian economy grow are only higher because we come from a lower base, and we will eventually have a bigger economy because we have a population which is 3 times bigger! Which means that, relatively, Brazil needs to have a 3 times bigger economy to be equal to the British economy.

    Linderman, you are the prototype of the Lula supporter... your arguments are abysmally wrong, they are either very stupid or very dishonest.

  • Comment number 95.

    #89 no reply?

  • Comment number 96.

    Sorry, this winds me up so much that I will write some more - not even sure anyone is still reading but...

    First I AM A PROUD BRAZILIAN, BUT NOT A BLIND DELLUDED ONE. Second, countries like England, Germany, France, Japan dont need to invest a lot in structure - IT IS ALL THERE.

    Linderman, have you compared Gurarulhos airport with any airport in London? Have you ever had a close look at our Bus terminals? I am not even to ask you to tell everybody about Brazilian railway stations...BECAUSE WE DONT HAVE THEM.

    Furthermore, if money is indeed spilling out of your beloved government ears, it should be thinking first of investing in all the above (including in my previous post) which are clarly LIGHT YEARS away from developed Europe, Asia and America, before it even thinks of hosting the WC, unless if it is very carefullt planned.

    You and BladeRunner sorry excuses that in the end everything will be ready is exactly what is now making the corrupt politicians and money grabbing civil construction companies lick their lips at the prospect of all money flowing directly to their bank accounts - at the expense of all the other basic development BRAZIL LACKS AND STILL WILL LACK FOR DECADES.

  • Comment number 97.

    @93: gross debt less GDP is a meaningless calculation. More meaningful would be to divide the former by the latter. At least you'd then have a notion of how many years' GDP the debt represents. And compare that with Brazil's (and the USA, and there's also the per capita ratio Alex mentions in No.94). As for the poverty figures, how long do you think the Brazilian government can continue giving the handouts that are sustaining these figures - with nothing asked in exchange (eg: children's school attendance, participation in vocational training, etc) before it bankrupts itself? Yes, the country's economy is generating wealth at an unprecedented rate (as a result of the reforms introduced since 1990), but there is a danger that too much is being drained off for short-term expedients, instead of being reinvested in such a way as to sustain that growth.
    That said, social inclusion, leading to a more balanced society (with education at the forefront, not largely ignored as it is at present), is also essential to the country's future. And wherever we are at in 2014, I am certain that Brazil will be very welcoming hosts and provide a WC that visitors and locals alike will enjoy.

  • Comment number 98.

    Hi Linderman, do you know if England´s external debt is BOND debt or LOAN debt?

  • Comment number 99.


    Your frustration with Brazil and everything Brazilian is ludicrous... I am no Lula supporter and never will be..

    Your arguments are from someone who CANNOT read properly, I was not making a direct comparison between Brazil and England.. Brazil has far more problems than England and I've acknowledged that in my comment..

    but I will acknowledge your arguments here so you be bloody happy: Yes, Brazil has problems,.. yes you cannot compare the Brazilian education system, health system, infrastructure with England's .. I wouldn't even compare with America's.. I believe the English system is superior..

    Brazil doesn't have a railway system, but not for the reasons that you think.. but for the same reasons that countries like the US and Canada have a few trains (OK I SAID A FEW TRAINS SO READ IT PROPERLY AND DONT COME WITH RUBBISH THAT I SAID THERE IS NONE) ... and the reason is because those countries are simply too big for trains.. tracks will be very costly to cover Brazil and impractical as the journeys would still take days instead of hours as it is for planes.. So therefore, planes would still be the preferred means of transportation in Brazil especially for the world cup...

    and Yes, Brazil comes from a lower base and everything in Brazil needs reshaping but the fact the country maintains itself strong despite of the problems it has, it's something to be proud of, or am I deluded ?

    Perhaps you will say I am deluded on that because you were frustrated with your life in Brazil and probably immigrated to some other country for a better.. but hey that's opinion.. and certainly not all Brazilians feel the same way that you do

    My point was just like BLRBrazil nicely put here: Yes Brazil can afford to give handouts at the moment (not forever though), and, England simply cannot.. THAT"S THE POINT !!!

    Maybe, it's difficult for you to comprehend Alex, but England is falling faster than any other country in the developed world.. That's a fact that is visible everywhere in England at the moment...

    VAT 20% next year, cuts in public service, and unemployment soaring, and the NHS yes the government is thinking about cutting some of that too..
    Would a WC being held in England be beneficial to the country or make the fall even faster ??? Not long ago, the government told us to embrace ourselves for the cuts and the tax rise..

    and You people still contemplate a WC being held here to add more to the debt that we are trying to save? Seriously this is not the time to be daft...

    Sure, England has all the infrastructure necessary and many things do need upgrading and certainly like any other government, our will go crazy on the spending in order to put up great show to the world.. That's what happened in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.. people protesting against the government spending money towards the event since there were many homeless people in the streets... All governments do end up spending a lot to have that show, and that will add even more burden to the economy as a whole..

    For AlexD, yes Brazil will overtake England in economy in the next few years, partially because Brazil has a population 3 times bigger...

    However, How about Australia ? The country's population is half of the UK's and the predictions are that they will overtake the UK.. and South Africa too.. just read some more news and you will be up to date with info...

    For your information: I AM BRITISH, AND I AM BRAZILIAN TOO.. I have both BRITISH and BRAZILIAN families.. and I have lived in both countries..

    For frustrated Brazilians like AlexD, yes Brazil has its tons of problems no denial, but not acknowledging some good results the country is producing and furthermore, just say everything is bad, bad and will be bad for decades it's pretty much being stupid, no reasoning at all behind your claims just frustrations... I have high hopes for Brazil just like I have high hopes for England..

    As for England holding the WC, the mess at the moment should be sorted first... A WC England can have it anytime as the country will always be a strong competitor..

    The country is in fears about a second recession at the moment, HSBC claiming move its headquarters to Asia and tons of people unemployed and you people say let's have a big show here? Give me a break..

    Give the opportunity to others.. This is NOT the right time for us...

    I believe Brazil will pull it together.. if some frustrated economical migrants don't believe in that, that's your problem..

  • Comment number 100.

    Sorry guys, but this AlexAD is trying so hard to sound sooo smart that I will add a few things here for him:

    I was comparing the current situation of the English economy with the Brazilian one.. and concluding what I already said, they are in a better position to spend money... and Britain is not

    Alex here, trying to sound totally clever, expands my comparison and goes out of the subject that I was talking about, and compares MANY aspects of Brazil such as: Brazilian roads, schools, health system etc with England's just in order to sound totally awesome..

    Mate, you're just miserably trying to sound clever, that's all.. Who the hell would make a total comparison of Brazil and England and say Brazil has a better system ? England has been running even b4 Brazil was born.. so spare, your efforts and do yourself a favour: Don't try to sound smart by twisting my words...

    If I was to compare Brazil with England, I would write a book, so many things to compare from weather to politics, from health to education and most things Brazil would totally fall behind, that's why they are a developing country.. I got one point and I was comparing one point only: Economy.. All the other aspects, Britain is doing just great, thank you very much...

    As Brazilian and British, in my family some are dual citizens like myself, some just British and some just Brazilians.. When I lived in Brazil, in my experience, many Brazilians (almost all) are not happy with the government indeed, but many are quite proud of the country, the ones who are not, they are usually the ones that fall in the category of working class (or poor class in the Brazilian term) and will totally show their frustrations by saying things like Brazil is bad, shitty and always will be or will be shitty for decades.. I totally understand their frustration and AlexAD frustration here
    Who would say a country is bad, will always be bad for decades if they're not frustrated with themselves and with their lives? Look at China, in less than one decade, it grew to become the world's largest economy..

    It is totally unfortunate, that these people are not capable of acknowledging one good thing about Brazil.. and even sadder, that MANY British people including my 100% British side of the family totally love Brazil..

    Funnily enough is that ONE good thing that I point out about Brazil that it's managing to keep its economy strong while not just England but many other countries struggle and I get attacked by a Brazilian rather than another English.. but that's the REAL frustration from the poor class in Brazil...

    So in your opinion, sure, Brazil will never be ready for the WC just like the country will never be ready for anything.. spare others from your silly criticisms if they disagree !!!!


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