Issues 'Plaguing the 2014 FIFA World Cup Opening' in Brazil
By Christine Jane Caparras | June 11, 2014 5:10 PM EST
The FIFA World Cup's opening has just begun. A full month of football action awaits visitors to Brazil and millions of viewers worldwide. Most teams and players are as ready as they can ever be to face their opponents. But it seemed Brazil is not nearly as ready as it should be.
On the surface, the World Cup fever is tangible. Graffiti were decorated in the streets and walls, streets lined with souvenir shops, every available surface covered with advertisements and tourist spots teeming with people: Brazil looks festive but the surface problems are lurking underneath.
The readiness of World Cup stadiums and other infrastructure are in question. The Arena de Sao Paolo, where the opening game between hosts Brazil and Croatia will be held, has not yet held a test event which will pass UK safety standards. Only a junior game is played there with 20,000 seats left empty in the stadium with a capacity of 61,000. Local fire departments refused to approve the use of the area which has only been tested using special machinery to determine the soundness of the structure.
During the construction of the stadium, two workers died when a crane fell into the roof. The same stadium would host the opening ceremony on June 12 and it remained to be seen if the safety measures undertaken by FIFA and the local organizers were enough to avoid a potential disaster.
Meanwhile, various strikes are being staged all over the country for various causes one of which being the large budget allocated for staging the World Cup. Various indigenous groups have staged protests against the event and the allocation of money to the games instead of environmental projects and assistance projects for ethnic minority groups based mostly near the Amazon.
Subway workers in Sao Paolo have also been on strike for nearly a week which could prove to be a problem once the matches start and thousands of people would need to commute to and from the stadium. A temporary suspension on the subway strikes has been put into force ahead of the opening ceremony. But the workers will put into vote if the strike will resume on Thursday.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been quick to defend the huge expense needed to stage the event. She insists that the $63 billion budget for infrastructure projects will benefit the country in the long run and only 8-9 billion Reals have actually been used for the event itself. The rest of the money will go into further infrastructure projects such as metro systems which can't be completed in time for the games.
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