World Cup is one of the most anticipated sporting events. It is time of football feast, but not everyone can celebrate and be happy. In such occasions, we often forget about fates of ordinary people.
But Lucas Resende, Brazilian who lives in Goiânia, does not forget about them. We invite You to his first entry on Transfersblog.com.
It’s today. After 7 long years, 15 billion dollars spent, 8 of those only on stadiums, Brazil will host the World Cup for the first time in 64 years. Yet, the notion that Brazil is the “most footballing country on Earth” is finally being seen as the boasting lie it always was. The protests that have been happening since June/2013 were the first glimpse into reality. 52% of the population is against it, especially how much was spent to host it.
The feeling here is one of division, of two clear sides. I’ve watched all World Cups since 1994, and the excitement with it has never been lower. Brazilians love cars; some households have 3 or 4. So the way we show what team we support is by placing flags over the hood. Of course there are dozens of cars in my city with Brazil’s flag over their hoods, but far from being the percentage as there was in 1998 and especially in 2006. Brazilians were the most excited when we were the reigning champions.
The division is clearly seen in a very XXI century way: social media. Half the people I know are against the World Cup, the amount of money spent, the families that were taken from their homes and FIFA’s power here for the next month. The other half say “it’s not that bad”, and that the tourism is gonna pay for all the costs (it won’t), the stadiums are gonna help Brazilian football regain strength (they won’t), and that the NT is above all of that, the Seleção has nothing to do with how much was spent. Their notion of being patriotic is supporting the NT, above all things, and at all times.
Thing is: the NT does not belong to Brazilians. At all. It’s run by the Brazilian FA, CBF, which is basically a company. The Brazilian government has not say in it. That’s why the rights to every single friendly until 2022 were sold to an Arabian company. That’s right. Whenever you watch a Brazil NT friendly, their opponent, the venue and the date were decided by the kind people from ISE. CBF, or any other Brazilian entity had nothing to do with that. CBF, apart from using the NT as their cash cow, also control the Campeonato Brasileiro, “Brasileirão”, our sad excuse of a league. Actually, it’s not really a league, since the teams have no say in it. All is decided by CBF. The rules, the dates, the vacation time. CBF, using the state federations, hold the clubs hostage. The clubs need the money from the state federations to get by, so they support the current rulers. Those rulers are in debt to CBF, so they vote to keep the people that run CBF in power. It’s a system rigged to keep the teams weak and under their thumb, and to make sure they will never leave CBF.
There were several politicians, Romário being the most recent one, that tried to investigate CBF, so they could gather enough evidence to remove them, or question their leadership. But CBF has lobbied its way into the Brazilian Congress. 4-6 congressmen are under their influence, and always placed in commissions to block whatever movement other politicians try to make against CBF. It’s a sad reality, and the majority of Brazilians are not aware of that, not even the average football fan. Only journalists that actually care and want to see football being well managed are fighting against CBF and revealing the truth. But without support, their voices are met with disdain and hate.
“Love It or Leave It” was something said often during the Dictatorial Military Government we had from 1964-1984. “Don’t agree with what we think/do? Then leave the country”, which was something several artists, journalists and regular citizens did. Brazil didn’t murder thousands of citizens during that time, “only” around 500 (what a weird thing to say as it was something positive…), so it was very common for citizens to leave. People who support the NT and think the WC costs “weren’t that bad”, often say the same thing the Generals that ran Brazil for 20 years did: “You are Brazilian, you have to support Brazil! Move to another SA country/Europe then!”. Most of these people say such phrase without realizing how awful it really is, but that just shows how the notion of democracy is shaky here, to say the least.
Brazilians acquired this underdog notion, where everything that is done here is not good enough, the citizens are never gonna change their ways, their “jeitinho’, and that corruption and dirty politicians will never cease to exist, or be removed. That’s what the general population thought for most of their lives. Then June/2013 happened. Several million people on the streets, to protest against the government, the taxes, the violence, the lack of sanitation, education and progress… and against the 15 billion dollars spent on the World Cup. It was really inspiring to see, and to be part of that.
Regardless, the World Cup is gonna happen. It’s gonna start tomorrow. The stadiums are not 100% ready, not even the one that will open the event. Get this: the VIP boxes where the Brazilian President will watch the match, along with other big figures and world leaders, are being assembled with haste as I type this, 26 hours before Brazil x Croatia kicks off. The airports are not ready, only the one what was built from scratch, in Natal. The transportation work that was supposed to be done, is only 40% completed around the country. Some will only be done in 2017!
The people that are against the World Cup, are aware of all that, and saw it coming. The other half of the population is turning a blind eye regarding everything, and placing flags on the hood of their car. The sad reality isn’t said division. The sad reality lies with the smallest percentage of the population that can’t even voice their opinion. They are too poor, too “irrelevant” to be taken into account. That’s why over 200 thousand of them were taken from their homes, places some have lived for over 40 years, so the outskirts of the stadiums looked “clean” and “prosperous”. Add them to the 350-380 thousand Brazilians that were murdered on the last 7 years, while only 40% of the security budget was used on the same period, and you get a grievously sad reality.
While I was typing this last paragraph, I was told once more “Leave this country if you are against everything we do”. Love It or Leave It? I do, that’s exactly why I won’t.