Amidst all the hysteria and hoopla about the "beautiful game", it’s worth reflecting on the less glamorous side of the 2014 FIFA World Cup: the destruction of communities and the evictions of tens of thousands of families from their homes; indefensible over-spending on stadiums which will probably rarely again be filled to capacity; corruption; gang and police brutality; human trafficking; and more.
A rather dramatic counterpoint to the glossy, sponsor-friendly imagery of the World Cup we’re fed every day.
The 2014 World Cup has already cost more than the last two World Cups combined; Brazil, rather optimistically, expects to make twenty times as much as South Africa did in 2010. Even if they do achieve this ambitious financial goal, at what human cost will it have come?
Today, favela residents are caught between drug traffickers on one side and corrupt politicians and security forces on the other. Victims of this power struggle view the [Pacifying Police Units] as the latest reincarnation of a strategy on the part of the government to forcibly evict hundreds of thousands of people. The only difference is the pretext: space is needed for stadiums, the roads that lead to them and other construction projects, while the wealth generated from this development will trickle down to help those at the bottom, at least so the argument goes. [...] Spending obscene amounts of money on 12 new World Cup stadiums when the trickle-down effect will be negligible is a tragedy. There is little evidence that hosting these major sports events leads to growth, while "[a]lmost every academic economist agrees that . . . [it] hampers rather than benefits your economy."