#WorldCupFever or #FuckFIFAFever? I don’t know which party to go to

Riots have been breaking out over the World Cup and Olympics that Brazil is hosting for over a year

Riots have been breaking out over the World Cup and Olympics that Brazil is hosting for over a year

I’ve got to admit; my latest move to Brazil has got me scratching my head. I received my tourist visa 3 years ago for Brazil and have waited for the right turn of events to push me to return to this fascinating country, and I thought what better time than the World Cup? I have tried to keep a pulse as to what the general attitude toward Brazil hosting the World Cup in Brazil is, but I was left unsure of who to believe. Last year, there were huge demonstrations against the World Cup by Brazilians across the country; however, mainstream media portrayed the demonstrators as primarily anarchists and a small minority of naysayers. Youtube videos uploaded by Brazilians told a different story, one more complex than simply a few unhappy anti-footballers throwing up signs. Over the past 6 months, especially in the last 3 weeks, a lot more information has been brought to the forefront with allegations of bribery about the World Cup 2022 choice of Qatar and a deeper analysis about the true cost of FIFA’s World Cup and who the actual benefactors are.

Here is a great John Oliver Video summing up the shitbaggery that is FIFA in a 15 minute rant:

So I write this on the eve of the opening game, but I would hardly know I was living in a country who’s ‘national religion’ is being played in its own backyard. Over the past 3 weeks, I have attempted to grab the opinion of any Brazilian I could find, usually over drinks – as is the Brazilian way, and the sentiment is mixed to say the least. Some think, Brazil’s President Rousseff included, the ‘pessimists have been defeated’ and the World Cup will eventually pay dividends and leave a lasting legacy in the country, while I would say 80% of the people I have spoken with, are much more leery of the heavy price tag and the political/economic corruption behind it. With how dead it has been in the jubilation/excitement category in the streets the last few days, I don’t know whether Brazil is really that last minute as with everything else, is really that pissed off about World Cup, or if I am unlovable and simply not being invited to the party?

Guy having a tough time unloading Brazil flags 2 days prior to the World Cup

Guy having a tough time unloading Brazil flags 2 days prior to the World Cup

Guy risking his life to sell Brazil flags in traffic

Guy risking his life to sell Brazil flags in traffic

Another hot World Cup item for sale: Tires for protest

Another hot World Cup item for sale: Tires for protest

With only 24 hours left until it is game time, I would have expected to see people filling the streets draped in Brazilian gear with beer bottles popping doing some type of samba football shuffle – maybe even a little obnoxious horn blowing even, but today as I walked around the center of Belo Horizonte Brazil, I did not feel much excitement in the air.  The only real excitement I felt was the same I have felt every other day while living in Brazil: the near death experience rush I get from cars almost running me over.

What cross walks in Brazil should look like

What cross walks in Brazil should look like

 

What do you think of World Cup 2014 in Brazil? Do you have #WorldCupFever or #FuckFIFAFever?

Turner barr
turnerbarr@gmail.com

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

6 Comments
  • Tiago Nogueira
    Posted at 13:44h, 11 June

    Muito bom seu post! Sou de Belo Horizonte e posso dizer, quase ninguém esta animado para a copa, muitos estão indignados com o que foi gasto para a construção ou reforma de estádios , o governo prometeu que esses gastos seriam por iniciativa privada, mas o acabou arcando com 97% dos gastos, ao invés de investir em educação, saúde, transporte etc.

  • Turner
    Posted at 14:13h, 11 June

    Thanks for writing in Tiago. Yes, I do not feel as much excitement as I thought in the air, but maybe I will find it out tonight and tomorrow. I hope all goes well still and it is a success for fans and for Brazil.

  • Emily
    Posted at 11:00h, 12 June

    I loved this read, Turner. I’ve been so curios as to what the climate’s like down there as kickoff approaches. I’m seeing more articles about FIFA’s corrupt practices and the situation in Qatar than I am about general World Cup excitement. I, myself, am struggling with the schools of thought you’ve mentioned here, and am surprised to hear that the Brazilians seem to be taking an almost boycott-like approach. No horns and hooligans staggering about in the streets there? Hours before kickoff? I can’t imagine it.

    I wonder what this will all look like after Brazil starts kicking ass in the cup though. Will their love for this religion take over, or will they continue on with the silent “Fuck You” to FIFA. I’m actually writing a guest piece on a sports blog now, and your article couldn’t have come at a better time! Thanks for the laughter. I really enjoy your posts! Have the time of your life down there, even if you aren’t invited to the party.

  • Sharon Walker
    Posted at 11:02h, 12 June

    My husband and I were in Manaus and Rio last year during a few large riots (and were part of the largest riot in Rio on June 20th). I heard interesting stories from locals claiming the protesters were never actually violent and that the police were being paid off to make it look that way (one person said a protest in Rio had street lights go out in one section of the march and when the lights came back on, police were beating people claiming the crowd had gotten violent. Many suspected the police actually shut off the lights and started the ruckus themselves because the march wasn’t violent before the lights went out). But riots aside, I didn’t meet one Brazilian in Rio or Manaus who was actually excited for The World Cup. Many seemed upset or at least concerned. And our friends from Curitiba also seemed concerned about the situation. It seems the feeling is country-wide.

  • Frank
    Posted at 15:40h, 29 June

    Interesting on the ground insight Turner … this is why I trust blogs (and comics like John Oliver) more than the MSM these days!

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