Will World Cup Construction Delays Become #BrazilProblems?

A worker signaled inside of Arena Pantanal stadium, under construction, in Cuiaba, Mato Grosso State, Brazil.
A worker signaled inside of Arena Pantanal stadium, under construction, in Cuiaba, Mato Grosso State, Brazil. –AFP/Getty Images

There is a chorus of concern over the progress being made in Brazil for next month’s World Cup, a virtual echo of pre-Sochi paranoia that spread before this year’s Winter Games were held in Russia.

In particular, “only 30 percent of the infrastructure projects’’ for the World Cup is expected to be ready by the time the first match kicks off on June 12, global soccer legend Ronaldo said according to AFP.

"I think we're missing an opportunity. A series of investments were promised that won't be delivered. Only 30 percent will be delivered," two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo told a forum organized by newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.

That fact was backed up by Jerome Valcke, the general secretary of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the governing body of international soccer competition.

Construction of stadiums and arenas — among other notable issues — was slow for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, drawing considerable criticism and an unfortunate comparison between the two global sports competitions before their starts.


The result was the Twitter hashtag #SochiProblems, which accompanied tweets that documented Winter Olympic issues in that city that ranged from the stray dog population to where Olympians were expected to relieve themselves.

Aside from the athletic concerns, there is a real possibility that some roads and airports will not be completed on time and that each stadium may not even be equipped with an Internet connection for journalists covering the event, The Daily Beast reported.

FIFA vice president Jim Boyce, however, told BBC that “I have absolutely no doubt that the World Cup will start on time.’’

Brazil has recently been rocked with protests over the lavish spending for the soccer tournament while its citizens complain about flimsy budgets for health, education, and transit, reported The Mirror.

As 20,000 took to the streets amid calls for a general strike, the most popular banner read "Na Copa vai ter luta" (the World Cup will have protests). These are people battered by austerity and depleted services, enraged that only 10% of the public transport projects (which was sold as the World Cup's main legacy) have been completed and white elephants, like the stadium in Brasilia, which has no top-flight team to play in it after the tournament, cost 600 million GBP.

Boyce added that the Brazilian protesters should beware that their actions may tarnish World Cup in their home country.

"I don't think these protests should be taking place during the World Cup because when you look at the legacy that will be left for people in Brazil, I think that they have to realise there will be a considerable amount of money put back from the World Cup into their country and their infrastructure."

Ronaldo, who has won two World Cup titles for his country, is “appalled’’ at the situation but remains positive, according to the Associated Press.

Despite the biting criticism, Ronaldo says the country will host a "great World Cup," relying on the South American nation's love of football and its quest for a record sixth title.

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