A mess. That would be a good way to describe the situation in Brazilian football after Ricardo Teixeira, the chairman of its Football Federation (CBF) and 2014 World Cup organizing committee, stepped down on Monday.
With a little over two years to go until the biggest tournament on the planet kicks off, construction at stadiums is behind schedule, the relationship between Brazil’s government and the game's ruling body FIFA is in tatters - and now Brazilian football’s most powerful and influential man is gone.
It really doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the South American country’s preparations are in trouble. No wonder FIFA’s secretary general Jerome Valcke said Brazil needed a “kick up the backside.”
Now, whether Valcke should have actually said that in public is another matter, and it's understandable that Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo took it as an insult. In fact, he said he did not want to deal with Valcke again - and it took a letter of apology from both the Frenchman and FIFA president Sepp Blatter to resolve the issue.
So should we be worried about the next World Cup being a success? In my opinion, right now, there should be some concerns.
What you have to consider is that Brazil is a huge country, with 26 states (plus one federal district) and very powerful regional governments. Every decision that needs to be made at a national level needs to be approved by its regional leaders, so the process is extremely long and bureaucratic.
Furthermore, you have several local political figures looking to profit from the World Cup, and if you add the element of corruption - which can never be completely discounted - then you understand why construction of stadiums, roads, airports and hotels is behind schedule.
As far as corruption is concerned, it has reared its ugly head countless times in the countdown to the World Cup. Brazil’s former Sports Minister Orlando Silva resigned in October of last year amid allegations he embezzled money from public funds. Previously, five other top cabinet members had stepped down after being accused of a variety of misdemeanors.
Which leads us to Teixeira. His official reason for resigning this week was that his health did not permit him to exercize his functions. It is true that the 64-year-old has been sick, but there has been a lot of pressure for him to step down.
Teixeira’s name has been tainted by several allegations of corruption. In 2001 he was accused of 13 crimes, from money laundering to tax evasion, by the Brazilian Congress. Recently his name was associated with a deal to sell TV rights for a friendly match between Brazil and Portugal in 2008 at an over-inflated rate in order to pocket part of the money.
In other words, Teixeira was not seen in Brazil as the man who should be the face of the World Cup. Former Brazil international Romario, now a politician, this week called him "a cancer in Brazilian football."
Furthermore, he had lost the government's support. While his relationship with Brazil's former president Lula da Silva was great, Teixeira did not see to eye with the new woman in charge, Dilma Roussef - who is rumored to have tried and succeeded to push him out. He does, however, remain a member of FIFA's Executive Committee.
So what now? In my opinion Brazil needs a clear direction as soon as possible and it needs to get everyone pulling in the same direction - football officials, government officials and FIFA. That is the only way this mess can be sorted out.
Otherwise the question leading up to the tournament won’t be, "Who will win it?" (and Brazil has already done so a record five times) but rather, "Well, will the 2014 World Cup be played?" And that is the last thing this proud South American nation needs.
This article makes a good point. But if we learned something from the South Africa World Cup in 2010 was that most of these concerns are unfounded and I think Brazilians will die before not delivering a great tournament.
That´s why I´m a CNN´s fan. Great text, focusing in the right points and treating my country and the people with respect. Nice job.
Funny, reading this article it almost looks like the article’s author is completely infiltrated among the board of directors, or maybe that he is a secretary responsible for World Cup preparations. He writes so firmly, so 100% sure, so confident and he webs the facts at his own will, just to make his point and transform some scattered facts that he picked at internet without understanding a bit of Brazil. Who told him that the facts happen based on the cause/consequence the way he just described. The soccer field construction is 30% complete after 8 months. IF it takes the same proportional time up to the end, it would take more 18 months, BUT everyone that knows about construction knows that the first 1/3 is the worst part. So the Stadium at most will be ready about September 2013. The Odebrecht, one of the greatest Civil Constructor Company in Brazil, said they will deliver it until December 2013. So, let’s not twist the facts just to make some explosive news that “sells”. Let’s not orchestrate random facts just to make someone’s point of view just to “hit the news”.
I agree with you cafp. Brazilians are very resourceful and will, possibly, "do it their way". But they'll deliver, no doubt.
i am british but resident of Brazil and i am proud of that – Brazil is great,
europeans and western countries have to understand and accept how Brzil and such country live and work. Brazil shall be ready ontime – brazilians are very genuine and hard workingh people and extremly proud of their county – they may be right to say Brazil is well behind schedule but bleieve me as my previous comment said which i fully agree Brasilians pride shall never let the world down – Brazil is big, best happy people on this planet – I am here because i love brasilians – they are great – they will work day and night until the job is done and they will show the world as they have been proving in all other economic situation – God will help Brasilaisn deliver one of the Best ever world cup and Olympics ever seen on this planet. Viva Brasil and may God help them in these specia international events – they won to host these two special events and they will finish on time God`s willing. l
Yeah yeah, another gringo talking a whole lot with little facts to back up his allegations. I remember most of the european countries and the USA expressing their concern about SA not being able to host such a big event... turned out it came out alright. Right now Brazil has enough money and the means to do what is needed to get the event going, and expressing concerns about it just another BS coming from the whites up north. Brazil can host it just as much as the USA can host wars abroad.
What a digraceful country Brazil is . . I hear that Qatar is ready and will take Brazils place They are to be the 2022 venue but are so far ahead that with ease they will open the games with pleasure !
I am a Brazilian man, and I know Brazil. I can attest that the fifa'organizers were very naive when they chose Brazil to host the world cup 2014. All the money allocated for the works Cup will be stolen by local politicians
the world cup in Brazil will be the best WC tournament to date, you watch my words! this country DIES for football, like no other on the face of the planet, period!
As a Brazilian that studied at public schools and got PhD in the US I deeply understand my country and culture.
The bullet train promised for this World Cup have not yet started and prediction is saying now that 2022 is the better chance of having it running in case it does take off.
Brazil is a special country that public management is deplorable because decision making and competency is always compromised. Corruption is widespread as there is an ongoing trend saying that intelligent people do not get key point because such smart minds happen to be also independent.
Democracy without honesty does not work because there is no difference on which one you vote for. President Dilma Russef did not finish her master and doctorate at UNICAMP in the city that I live – Campinas. I sent a letter to her suggesting that such outstanding international events of sport to be used to convince Brazilians to adopt healthier lifestyles as obesity is Brazil is growing in the same fashion as in the US. I got no answer as I also pursue a sort of ‘scientific discovery’ in the US regarding new conceptions of Hydrodynamics. I finished two half-marathons during my PhD in the US and Bill Clinton was the speecher of my commencement releasing his first speech for reelection in 1996.
Why Brazilians are so skilled with balls and singing, and carnival?
Just because such human activities are not dependent on government efficiency institutions and even less on an educational system to explore talented citizens.
I am also curious how these two big events will turn out as I think Brazil is a strong country just because of friendly people, and fertile lands.
What is deeply missing in Brazil is honesty to make a country good to most of us.
The cruel truth is just appalling as Brazil won five world cups while England the creators of football did it once.
I hope our players do a better job that our government running such events. There are plenty of talented player to keep this trophy at home.
In case we miss this victory I say we are not supposed to win all the time.
Brazil is a strong country just because we do not trust much our government functioning, and the amazing development is that Brazil is not standing but the developed countries are falling down.
In Brazil our public servants fill their pockets while in the developed countries they fuel the weapon industry and a reckless economic system so easy to put a break if they had brain for it.
A total of nine new stadiums were presented to FIFA...none of which are under construction (plans all but abandoned).
Infrastructure was promised to FIFA's ruling body (a major concern) to come under scrutiny, at national and local levels (case in point...Salgado Filho's short landing strip in Porto Alegre). Morumbi is now being "dressed up." Has anybody been to visit it lately? And its bathrooms? Let alone bathrooms at Guarulhos' airport. Lots of luck!
Signage on all Brazil's existing, broken, highway system is non-existant, poorly maintained or just falling apart. Don't stop at a stop lights at night...yep! marauders will do serious harm to all occupants.
Highway marauders, day and night, are law enforcements nightmare (case in point: Linha Vermelha/Amarela in Rio de Janeiro).
What about Sao Paulo's exhibit of 'cracolandia?' A crack addict's heavan, right in downtown Sao Paulo.
Drugs permeate every municipality in Brazil. 60% of all judges are corrupt. Law enforcement isn't any better. Lawyers (if a soccer fan gets into trouble) will "clean their clients clock" as it were, and probably get their client a stiff sentence too boot..
Yes, FIFA made a big mistake. But how much did Romario (soccer ambassador) slip fo FIFA's ruling body to snag this prize?
I agree, CAFP, "Brazilians will die". :)
i'm Brazilian and i hate football, samba and carnival and i love rock n roll and basket ball
There are many competent and honest people in Brazil. Unfortunately they are a minority in the decision making circles. If the corrupt and incompetent majority gets really scared maybe those who get things done get a chance. I hope Mr. Valcke's comments have done that. Nothing upsets people more than hearing the truth about themselves.
Everyone forget the reason Brazil got the games in first place by buying votes for millions of dollars.
The money to build stadium is just a excuses to steal billions by politicians.
You only have to look around Brazil at hospital and other projects where the money went missing and nothing was built.
The games will be a disaster only poor who have been kick out of their cardboard shacks will be the losers. Don't even think of buy tickets to the game it won't happen.
A lot of mouth diarrhea form over sensitive Brazilians and one gringo who hasn't been long enough in Brazil to learned how the country and its flock really (or doesn't) work.
in my opinion we shouldn't have been chosen , we have several problems to solves such as health public system and education
i think brazilian people have got to think over for the consequencies of this
It is quite presumptuous to make such baseless assumptions about the level of corruption involved in the preparations for the world cup. It is disturbing that people show support to profit organization forces a sovereign nation to change its laws to accommodate an event. It is a shame that public funds are being used to build and renovate stadiums that will be turned into privately owned teams after the world cup ends. Americans tend to forget that not all countries in the world are subservients to big corporations, they forget that in some places the people actually have a voice. Just wait until people have to deal with Qatar where foreigners must buy a permit to consume alcohol and woman must cover the majority of their bodies.
I agree with the writer. Brazil is my favorite country in the planet. I have visited brazil 8 times since 2006. I have to say there is no differences from 2006 to my last visit which was 3 weeks ago. The airports, stadiums, hotels, transportation system are all the same. I have not notices any different whatsoever. Brazil will host the world cup for sure. The atmosphere will be the best a soccer fan can imagine however, the preparation to host the million of visitor will be the sooo bad only South Africa can beat it. I do not think anything will change in Brazil from now until 2014 as Brazilian government can not function properly.
To the uneducated Brazilians
I have learned in short time I have been in Brazil. If you walk around Brazil with head in clouds ,shacking your ass and only visiting safe area of Brazil.
It's a wonderful country.
God I hate dealing with stupid people ! !
I´ve lived in Brasil for over 35 years, I love Brasil as almost anyone who lives here, does. But talk about corruption, no one has mentioned the half of it here yet, it's in absolutely every facet existing in Brasil. From governmental to religion, from bank loans to court houses, you can buy your way out of absolutely everything. Not just the poor class fighting for survival, but up to richest that don't need it. If you don't believe come on down, it's hard to see because most of it is out in the open, like the many many farms our ex president Lula acquired during his 8 years in office, many of which are registered in his own name at the local courthouse. And what about his boy that went from making a couple of thousand real a month to buying a 44 million real farm, smart people! That's the kind of example we get from the leaders of the country. But you know what? Don't ever underestimate a Brazilian, let him get his hell raising feet under himself and give him a chance, you won't believe what can be done! Brasil is one of the most fabulous countries in the world, self sufficient in most everything, you name it, we've got it! Everything! That is everything but honesty, Brasil has had dishonest leaders from the beginning, and how do expect children to grow up to be honest if their parents taught them dishonesty from the start? Oh, and a word to the wise, for those of you considering coming down here for the world cup, don't bother, you'll pull your hair out, I've lived here for more than 35 years and there's many times I can't find my way around, not even with a Brazilian GPS! And don't forget that if something terrible should happen, like driving in our mayhem traffic, and drive over a child, which happens a lot, remember your'e a foreigner, you probably wouldn't make it till the police got to the scene, and if you did for some unforeseen reason, you wouldn't be much better off in the hands of the justice. BUT, don't ever think you shouldn't come to Brasil, we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and many other absolutely wonderful things to see, but don't risk big cities, specially at soccer time, Brazilians fight between themselves at all the games, the last thing you need is to offend an impassioned soccer lover, you wouldn't have a chance!
Once upon a time, there were calls that a world cup preparations should have a Plan B. It is just 3 years ago. I'm surprised those same critics have not raised their voices in this. Thanks to African for making South Africa 2010 such a spectacle. South Americans should quickly rally behind Brazil – my candid advice!
Pedro you made valid points BUT to even suggest that World Cup might not go ahead is SILLY and RIDICULOUS.
There is now way the "biggest tournament in the world" would not go ahead.
Just like the Brazilian government has been cleaning house in major favelas, government it's NO SURPISE at all to see Ricardo Teixeira go.
As the WORLD is fed up with Sepp Blatter the same goes for Ricardo Teixeira. Instead of gloom and doom I for one am EXTREMELY EXCITED and hopeful with this historical step down.
The situation in Brazil must be seen with a different POV, change IS happening on all levels and that isn't going to happen without controversy.
What do you prefer CHANGE or the status quo aka Sepp Blatter and FIFA establishment?
I sadly agrees with the concern mentioned by Pedro Pinto.
We´re a nation with great perspectives, but that still not prepared to afford something such big as the W.Cup 2014. All ´cause of corrupt politicians.
Unfortunately, as much you delay to delivery, more money you´ll get to finish all the constructions at stadium and other F.. stuff !
the question to be ask is not if the event will or will not take place1 sure it will. but the mess, the waste of money and corruption that will take place.
these evetns, World Cup and Olimpics, should be use to gain some life quality in city that much need it. Well this will nto happen in Brazil for sure
Trepidation is understandable, but isn't it always the same when a World Cup, Olympics or other major event is held in a non-western or poorer western nation? Concerns about the Athens Olympics of 2004. Concerns about Beijing 2008. Concerns about the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Concerns about the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India. Concerns about Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine and so on.... If the richer west nations don't have their hands on the organization of an event they invariably fear that it's going to fail. That's a colonialist attitude at best, jingoistic bigotry at worst as it assumes that poor Johnny Foreigner hasn't the awareness to see and deal with the problems that inevitably arise when you face such a massive undertaking as hosting a global sporting event. I'm not saying that the issues should be ignored, but neither should the problems be exaggerated and spun forward into the doom and gloom scenario of the World Cup being cancelled. After all, Britain has had more than its fair share of financial and logistical problems in the lead up to this summer's Olympics and I haven't once heard anyone voice fears that the London Games will be axed. Brazil, which matches GB for football passion and which has just replaced Britain as the 6th largest economy in the world, will get it together and will deliver the goods by hook or by crook because it has to. The world is watching and no government, let alone one presiding over a country with such lofty global ambitions, would countenance failure on such an epic scale. So rest easy, Pedro, you can book your tickets to Rio with confidence!
m Looking forward to the 2014 World Cup matches
I appreciate Pedro's concern. But no country has been praised for adequate preparations to a FIFA World Cup 2 years to the event. They said it would not be possible in South Africa, but it went off very well. The Brazilians are a very creative people, and come 2014 they'll deliver! some countries, like individuals work best under pressure!
In my humble opinion Brazil will do a wonderful job. They will put up a superb show. The host nation and those World Cup organizers out there will banish the fears, doubts and tremblings of fellow mortals associated with the Beautiful Game. We need to have more faith and less or no doubts in their capacities. Viva Brazil.
Blah, blah.. the are other countries that will step up happily is Brazil does not want to play nice.
alehandro March 15th, 2012 9:16 pm ET
"Trepidation is understandable, but isn't it always the same when a World Cup, Olympics or other major event is held in a non-western or poor western nation? Concerns about the Athens Olympics of 2004. Concerns about Beijing 2008. Concerns about the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa....."
-Alehandro, You said is best.
@ George Azzopardi
You claim to be British but your English is so defective that it is quite obvious to anyone with a moderate command of the English language that you are trying to pass for something you are not.
Incidentally, the same applies to Brazil as a country, i.e., it is trying to portray itself as a 1st World nation but, in reality, it is far, far away from being anything like that.
Football, is what Brasil love, what they dream, what they breath, football is what Brasil is, they do not need pompous stadiums or airport or motorways, what they do need they already have and in quantities that others just can dream off.
The World cup will go ahead not doubt about it, a world cup that not only will be played in the not yet ready stadiums but in every corner of that beautiful country, in every beach, every fabela, in every park, school, road, pitch, every bar, work place, in every bedroom and MOST important of all, it will be played not just by Brazilians but by every single soul in present in that great country at the time... people from over the world will learn what is football about, why Brasilians are in the way they are, way football is their religion.
Countries like the UK are here to spoil the process before it even start, because they think they deserve every thing 5stars, well we know they have not won anything yet for a half of a century so why should them expect 5 stars stadiums or facilities, why?
We should be asking here to the Spaniards, French, Italian, Argentinean why they expect, and most probably they will answer that they just expect to PLAY FOOTBALL.
Corruption is everywhere, there is not a country where does not exist, because money is money and money talks, money buys, money corrupts, money silents, but also money make things work, if you do not believe me just look into London Olympics where we were promised that tax payers will pock out not more that £2 billions GBP but for some reason we are approaching £10 billions GBP, where the money has gone.... pockets, pockets, and more pockets; is not that called corruption too.
So please, just lets wait the results and scorers, hoping that everyone of you if decide to go there have the most wonderful time, do like Coca Cola and MacDonald, and book your ticket ASAP. Thank you for listening and see you in the finals.
unfortunately I have to say that this cup will be made in poor condition and will not be fulfilled according to FIFA. but will not be a disaster and will only reinforce a fact, Brazil has not the government it should. the cup will come out but full of problems as is common in Brazil.
I don't understand why some readers from Brazil get so offended with an article that isn't even criticizing Brazil, merely stating the facts and the opinion of the author.
Marcelo, stop being ignorant. If you read cnn.com, hopefully you read you homeland news as well. Every single day there is an article in Estadao, Folha, or Globo commenting on the scandals permeating the world cup in Brazil. Hope to see your enthusiastic comments there as well.
Bianco: "There is no way the the biggest tournament in the world would not go ahead"?. I bet Lehman Brothers execs thought the same about their bank before the FED said no more.
Cristian Muga, what's the point of reading the news if you do not want to read the speculation and conjectures involving recent events?Criticize the weather man while you are at it...
George Azzopardi, your english sucks. About brazilians being a hard working people, you don't know your people very well. Last weeks news on estadao showed a poll regarding how the majority of brazilians consider hard work to be detrimental to quality of life. I share that opinion, but I do not deny enjoying a bohemian life.
I hope Brazil succeeds, and I really think they will: on schedule, billions over budget and with many happier and richer politicians (as with most public works in Brazil). (obs: I am a Brazilian living in Sao Paulo).
Everyone here talking trash about Brazil, I'll only say this: please, if you're so worried if the country will be able to deliver the World Cup or not, take the task with you! If I were the president of my country, I'd gladly give this money consuming event as a gift to your country! Do you want it? Oh, please, take it! The brazilian taxpayers will be thankful, believe me.
@Vernunft: Not sure how is one defined British these days but the chap you are talking about is most likely to be British even though his English may not be perfect just like the other 40% of the population who live in the UK these days... I still couldn't see the point you were trying to make but you are obviously failing to recognize the FACT that being British these days doesn't mean being English ;-)
and as for Brazil putting on a show, guess what, they WILL put on a show just like the shows they put on when the Carnival is on... It is NOT the beauty of the stadiums that create that magical atmosphere that Brazil has BUT the people... The West can say whatever they want BUT they just don't have that magic that Brazilians have... Have YOU been toa beach in Brazil where the is NOTHING in sight but suddenly people have music, dance and ice cold beer?!! All I can say on behalf of this lovely nation is "Bring it on boys and girls and lets have a BIG party" amen..
just a realy helpful thought: I'm Brazilian, and I'm looking for a place, possibly in Argentina, to escape to it at the time the WC is going on. This place will be worse than hell, specialy major cities like Sao Paulo and Rio. The WC will happen, just don't expect "world class" transportation system or other services which are so trivial in developed countries. Tip: look for "secure" (armored) cabs when moving from hotels to stadiums.
The city where I live is suposed to host 4 games, but the old staduim has only been teared down 8 month ago and it took 6 other month just to put the grades around the construction area. And there is only two years left before the world cup. Brazil is just not a serious country. We have too many corrupted politicians, more worried about their own bank accounts than the well being of their fellow citizens. Add. to that useless and inefficient bureaucracy and there you go...
You only have to look at Manaus in Amazonia...today all the cities buses were changed to private companies......and no one was told about it...the mayor disappeared to Sao Paolo to open an account at the bank for his back hander.....the vice mayor was at a meeting and no one could get to work...so the university and hospitals were almost paralysed....corruption...no just a blip...sorry i forgot to mention it to the population that the transport system was changing today.....dont be naive....u dont become a politician for the benefit of your health.
If Brasil is unable to get things together soon, not only is the there the possibility of losing or having a unsucessfull world cup, but the International Olympic Comittee will not be hesitant to relocate the 2016 Olympics elsewhere. So much progress must be made to both the venues and the accomadations, for all the people who will arrive in these cities expecting something that these cities are a far ways off from offerring.
Off course Brazil doesn't really care about the World Cup as such. Just about winning it.
I find the article offensive and of a very bad taste. And the words of FIFA’s secretary general, Jerome Valcke, were so despicable they should not even be dignified in the article, unless, of course, Pedro Pinto rejoiced while propagating them. Vulgarity of such nature should never be tolerated towards anyone, and especially towards a country which has contributed so much to the game of football.
Just for the record, Mr Pinto and Mr. Valcke, Brazil is the only nation in the world which has qualified for every single FIFA World Cup. It is also the only nation to have won five titles after reaching the final match seven times, and Brazil has contributed to the popularization of the sport globally with more talents than any other nation on the planet. Not to mention, of course, that Brazil has already hosted one very successful World Cup in 1950. Raising questions whether the Brazil 20114 World Cup will be played at all is simply appalling and not in place for a forum of the caliber of CNN.
Brazil will deliver a quality World Cup which is in direct proportion to the nation's achievements. You can all rest assured.
We will gonna do the best world cup ever, what you Americans are talking about? Your country doesn't know how to play soccer, the world cup that we won in your 'lovely' country, c'mon what was the stadiums? awful! The funny thing will be see the same US citizens who is writing all this here, going to Brazil and saying 'I love Brazil!', It's time to grow up people, everybody knows that you are going deep now, the education is ridiculous in the United States, what the seniors study in the high school I studied when I was junior in Brazil, we can count the people who speak other language! The US is pathetic, you are thinking you are the best, but I can see China puting you down in few years.
It is time to Brasil and brasilians to grow up.Be real!!!
You put USA down so much, but any chance you people have to come to this wonderful country and stay ilegally.you do. I wonder why!!!
I am brasilian and have been in the USA for 40 years, love this country and will never go back to that mess, and unsafe place.
Corrupcion is there last name.
I am curious to hear about the World Cup . Millions of people going to see the games and no infra struture.
Airports are too small, no parking , trafic is awful, and not counting the dangerous of being assalted in plaine day light.
Brasil is a great country and the people are nice , but is stinks!!!
sad to see how the Brazilian Malu, speaking ill of his own country, and with a terribly bad english writing this as a person living in the United States 40 years and speaks English so bad? I've always lived in Brazil and my English seems to be much better than their Malu is unfortunate that people spit on the plate you ate, remember, even if you want, you is not North American, has 40 years are you off Brazil what you know about this country? what you see on tv? Please do not forget your crib, be more humble, tell you to stop being Brazilian, you have to be born again.
I know that Brazil is not in this financial crisis.
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