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Tim Vickery column: Brazil braced for more World Cup protests

Tim Vickery column: Brazil braced for more World Cup protests
tim-vickery-column-brazil-braced-for-more-world-cup-protests
I had last seen Fuleco, the 2014 World Cup mascot, back in December at the hotel in the complex where the tournament draw took place. He stood some eight feet tall and Browns Ahtyba Rubin Youth Jersey was very heavy - I know because we borrowed him for a few minutes, carrying him a couple of hundred yards to where we were doing a piece to camera for BBC TV. I saw him again on Sunday, outside the Maracana stadium before the Brazilian league game between Flamengo and Sao Paulo. He was looking much more animated this time. A brief piece of research revealed that there was a man inside by the looks of it - who was trying to make some money by putting on the costume and posing for photographs. It is a sign that the World Cup is coming to town. Inside the Maracana the extra space for the world's media has already been constructed. Meanwhile, over in Sao Paulo, the stadium that will stage the opening game received its first full test, with Corinthians playing - and losing as it turned out - to little Figueirense. Slowly, the streets are starting to take on the normal World Cup appearance. Every four years it is a Brazilian tradition - a fine one in my view - to decorate their streets in honour of the World Cup, with murals on the road and yellow and green streamers glinting in the sun. This year - so far at least - it is all being done more timidly than usual, and for obvious reasons. In 2008 a poll by the Datafolha Agency in the widely respected Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper showed 79% support for the World Cup in Brazil. By April of this year another poll by the same agency showed this had fallen to 48%. Many people are more reluctant to associate themselves with a http://www.brownsnflofficialauthentic.com/BROWNS-JOHNNY-MANZIEL-JERSEY competition that has become a public relations disaster. The anti-World Cup protests will not go away because there is plenty to protest about. There is the poor organisation - starting with the absurd delay in naming the host cities and the insistence on 12 when Fifa would have been happy with eight, while for years there was no government representation on the local organising committee - a bizarre flaw in a tournament that has implications for public spending. And many people believe that officials have taken the support of the people for granted and made empty promises. Hosting the competition has cost the country more than it should, and in return is giving back less than it should. The cost of the stadiums is now in the region of £2.4bn, three times more than the figure quoted in 2007. Four of the stadiums - in Manaus, Cuiaiba, Brasilia and Natal - would seem to have little prospect of long-term viability, meaning that there http://www.brownsnflofficialauthentic.com/BROWNS-JUSTIN-GILBERT-JERSEY was no chance of private funding being attracted to build them. Support of the population was cynically taken for granted, with empty promises that all of the money spent on stadiums would be from private sources. Luis Fernandes, the Ministry of Sports representative who was very belatedly brought on to the local organising committee, has been big enough to recognise that "this speech never corresponded to reality". The lack of debate in Brazilian society about the competition and its objectives has returned to bite the authorities where it hurts. Certainly, the authorities got a massive shock last year during the Confederations Cup when Brazilians took to the streets in huge numbers to show their displeasure at the amount of public spending on a football tournament.

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