Is It Time for Brazil? Preparing for the Next World Cup

Article excerpt

At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the musician Shakira's catchy lyrics, "This time for Africa," rang true with the success of the Cup. Now, as the football-enthused nation of Brazil prepares to host the next World Cup in 2014, a similar question arises: is it time for Brazil? Like South Africa, Brazil faces many economical and structural issues to be resolved in preparation for the World Cup. It remains to be seen if the Cup will give the Latin American nation a moment to shine or if it will exacerbate realities of structural insufficiency and corruption.

Looking back in history, Brazil first hosted the World Cup in 1950, the first such event since the end of World War II. That World Cup came close to never taking place due to lack of international interest, as most countries wanted to pour resources into reconstruction rather than entertainment. Finally, Brazil submitted an uncontested bid in 1946 and was approved. Brazil built the world's largest football stadium at that time, the Maracana, but then suffered defeat to Uruguay in the final match, one still remembered today.

64 years later, having won with an uncontested bid on October 30, 2007, Brazil is again preparing to host the World Cup to be held in the summer of 2014. At that time, there were six continental confederations through which FIFA rotated the World Cup nomination every four years, a policy that has now been discontinued. Brazil was the only country nominated by the South American Confederation (CONMEBOL), and was thus granted the bid. However, in 2007 the Latin American country was far from being prepared for the event; many changes would have to be made, especially in the areas of infrastructure and corruption. Upon accepting the bid, Brazil had no stadiums in compliance with FIFA safety standards, including the famous Maracana stadium. Despite these setbacks, Brazil was aware of the impact of hosting such a global event, and preparations would force the nation to transform its infrastructure and social atmosphere.

Concerted efforts are still needed before these changes can fully materialize. Before the World Cup, Brazil must build the necessary stadiums and improve air and land transportation, as well as deal with the threat of water and electricity outages. Former FIFA President Joao Havelange has expressed concerns about these proceedings, while the Brazilian Audit Court fears that poor management and planning, along with corruption and lack of transparency, will be detrimental to Brazil's progress. According to Transparency International's 2010 corruption report, Brazil is ranked at 69th with a score of 3.7 (on a scale in which 0.0 indicates complete corruption and 10 the lack thereof). Brazilian government officials are showing a lack of transparency in their failure to control costs and adhere to deadlines. A report from a government watchdog warned of the risk of mismanagement of public funds during construction.

Corruption is one of the biggest impediments Brazil faces as it attempts to improve its infrastructure before the tournament. …