There has been a bit of talk recently about how people shouldn’t come to the World Cup this time next year in Brazil. The basic idea for this is that by not coming you will support the people of Brazil in their struggle for a better society. It is best summed up by this video by Carla Dauden, a Brazilian living in the USA.
On the other hand, there is Mauricio Savarese who savages Carla and her like for negative and naive ‘vulture politics.’ So, what should you do? Assuming your country qualifies for the World Cup, and being English with an Irish background this is far from given, should you come to see the beautiful game in this beautiful setting?
Reasons To Come
Money: The argument that you shouldn’t come because some Brazilians are protesting about the state of their country is, to my mind, a spurious one. The money has been spent. The stadiums will have been built. The roads will be half completed and the scaffolding will still be up at some of the airports. If everybody refused to come to the World Cup there would be two main effects: Lots of Brazilians, for example taxi drivers, hotel companies and the taxman, will lose a lot of money. Second, the government of the day will be embarrassed but would probably blame it on the selfish protesters.
And boycotting the tournament won’t harm FIFA’s balance sheet one bit. All of their money comes from TV deals and sponsorship rights that have been signed and sealed a long time ago. The next two tournaments have already been designated to Russia and Qatar, hardly two beacons of democratic light that will give FIFA any nightmares about there being a repeat performance of widespread protest.
It’s football in Brazil: I hardly need to say that Brazilians (in general) love football. There may well be some protests during the World Cup, but anybody who makes it here will see how much feeling the locals have for the game. It won’t matter if you don’t speak a word of Portuguese, you will be able to communicate in the language of football. There can be no better place to watch football than here in Brazil.
You’ll see Brazil: Brazil is a beautiful country with a huge variety of things to see. There is the natural phenomena such as the Pantanal, Foz do Iguaçu and The Amazon. Rio, the wonderful city (a cidade maravilhosa) really lives up to its sobriquet. The beaches and beach life all down the coast are amazing. Even the sprawling city of Sao Paulo is something you should experience at least once in your life.
Reasons Not To Come
Cost: Getting here from Europe will cost quite a bit. And then once you are here the cost of living is pretty high (one of the things that some people are protesting about). You’ll probable need internal flights because the country is so big and the schedule has been designed with the fans at the bottom of the list of priorities. And then, because it is the World Cup and you are a gringo, everything will be even more expensive than usual.
Getting around: One of the main reasons for protests has been the lack of expenditure on infrastructure in the country. This is mainly aimed at hospitals and education, but also at roads, ports and airports. Inflation is starting to rise again in Brazil, and one of the reasons is that the country is at its limit in terms of getting people and products from one place to another. The roads are abysmal. The airports are a joke. The international airport in Sao Paulo (Garulhos) is one of the place I most hate to be in the world.
Crime: Crime, and security in general, is a big motivator for people to get out on the streets and protest. At past World Cups and European Championships most of my friends have ended up sleeping in tents in order to save money. If you do that in Brazil don’t leave anything valuable like your iPad in your tent because I can see lots of stories of them being nicked.
One of the reasons crime is such an issue is the fact that the police are next to useless. The only thing they are good at is whipping out their guns when there is any hint of trouble. I can easily envisage European supporters having one too many drinks and getting a bit rowdy. The police will have no idea about how to handle this situation and it could all end up a bit messy.
Spain are going to win: If it isn’t Spain it will be Germany. Spain are the reigning World and European champions and I think their tikki takki style of play is boring. Not like England who play beautiful, free-flowing, direct and attacking football but always get bad decisions from the ref. Oh, and FIFA hates us. At least that is my story for all the years of hurt I have had to endure.
So, if you can afford it, I would say come to the World Cup. You’ll have a wonderful time, even though there will be some problems around the tournament. But then again, that is pretty much what life is always like in Brazil.
Are you planning to come to Brazil? Have your plans changed because of the protests? Are you a Brazilian who thinks people shouldn’t come? Why/why not? I would love to hear your thoughts inthe comments section below.
It’s the Double Standard, Stupid: andrewdownie.wordpress.com – This is a great blog about Brazil written by a foreing journalist living here.
Yes, I Am Going to the World Cup: abrazilianoperatinginthisarea.wordpress.com – This is the article I mentioned in my post above.
I supported the World Cup bid, but even I am against it now: guardian.co.uk – The great Romario is now a surprisingly good congressman.
Cancel the Cup?: bornagainbrazilian.wordpress.com – The comments section here has some lively debate about whether Brazil should anticipate any boycott and just cancel the whole shebang.