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The most successful striker in a World Cup , Ronaldo has scored an own goal when he told a Reuters reporter last week that he was embarrassed about all the delays in the preparations for the World Cup, due to start two weeks on Thursday. That’s what Sports Minister, Aldo Rebello, told the press in what became a huge polemic debate this weekend in Brazil.

Quite frankly, although not exactly a PR coupe, I’m relieved that Ronaldo feels embarrassed by it. Imagine if he had said he was proud of all the shortcomings which have been relentlessly exposed by the media all over the world?! Only 2 out of the 12 stadiums were ready inside the agreed deadline, most of the parallel work – airports refurbishments, communications infrastructure and transport , among manny others – will either not be ready at all or have been abandoned altogether.

Ronado hugging the World Cup mascote

Ronaldo and the World Cup Mascote in better days

“It’s a pity because it is my country , the country I love and we shouldn’t be passing this sort of image to the world”, Ronaldo told the reporter. Member of the organising Committee (COL), Ronaldo should probably have chosen better worlds to express his anxiety/frustration/agony. But the truth of the matter is that Brazil’s troubled organisation of  the event have been so apparent and are causing so much revolt in the population that there is no amount of PR or good spin put into it that would make it look good. Some political commentators are speculating behind doors that the country will explode between the World Cup and Presidential Elections.

One of the most respected football commentators in Brazil, Juca Kfouri, was very brief and direct in his blog: According to him, Ronald had 3 reasons for his outburst: 1) exempt the local committee (of which he is a member): 2) Point the blame at the government and, by consequence 3) show his support for the opposition candidate of presidency Aecio Neves.

The president Dilma has also come up with a response that leaves a lot to be desired . “We will do the ‘Cup of the Cups’ without any underdog complex”, she said in a speech the  Youth Socialist Meeting. She was trying to divert the focus  and imply that unsatisfied people are suffering from not being 1st world citizens. I would laugh if it wasn’t so serious. The only way we can salvage all the mess and hope to realize a great Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio is to acknowledge our mistakes and correct them.


Muito interessante e relevante a matéria no site do UOL  hoje sobre as imposições da FIFA no funcionamento de transito, vendedores e até mesmo moradores nas 12 cidades sedes da copa. Isto porque esta semana, a FIFA assume o  controle dos estádios do Mundial,  dos esquemas de segurança e coloca em vigor as restrições de comércio e publicidade. No Rio de Janeiro, por exemplo, só patrocinadores da Copa podem fazer propagandas a menos de um quilômetro do Maracanã a partir desta quinta-feira.

Maracanã e arredores . Começa a vigilância

Maracanã e arredores . Começa a vigilância

Entre outras coisas a Lei Geral da Copa proíbe também que ambulantes trabalhem nas imediações dos estádios, dá poder aos governos estaduais de decretarem feriados nos idas de jogos e moradores do entorno receberão “credenciais” para poder chegar e sair de casa – isto apenas no Rio e Salvador onde os estádio são em areas populosas. Este último, provavelmente, vai ter um preço bom no mercado negro. As prefeituras botarão parte do efetivo de suas guardas municipais para trabalhar a serviço da Fifa.

Conheça todas as restrições no  link



There will be another demonstration against the World Cup this evening in São Paulo,  the biggest city in South America and host of the Opening match between Brazil and Croatia.  Organised by the Movimento dos Sem Terra (Landless Movement in a free translation), it claims better housing, free public transportation, improved health and education, demilitarization of the police and sovereignty of Brazilian workers during the hosting of the World Cup.

A banner stating No world Cup

Demonstrations in Brazil

Of course, they are right and, of course, they have a point. Actually, they are highlighting a lot of  important points. But I agree with Walter Mattos, editor of the Sports Media Lancenet, who wrote in an editorial this week . ” Pity we did not protest when it was decided for 12 venues… to build monumental stadiums with public money  in places where there is not enough supporters to use them.  Nor did they protest when the infrastructure works, these  indeed important, but were being delayed or abandoned.”

That is the point . Hosting an internationally important event can be a huge wealth generating factor.  It is a massive opportunity to get money invested in sectors which are normally relegated . But it can also backfired. It can bring  out the mistakes, misjudgements, the mismanagement.

The protests should concentrate in getting the infrastructure works done; airport improvements, new  rail and transport implemented.  And obviously in making sure the politicias understand that we are watching and our conclusions will reflect on our voting. That is the only action they understand. 

A survey done by Datafolha and published today has revealed that the support for these protests is waning, not increasing.  During the Confederation Cup the demonstrations had 89% of support from the population. Today it is only 52%.  That is also due partially to the inconvenience caused to the millions of people but also to the confrontation with the police which has caused even death of a cameraman.



Some people are targeting even the Cup itself to protest against the expenditure on the Football World Cup. Yesterday the exhibition of the trophy in Belém had to be closed at 7pm – two hours before the arranged time and with a lot of people still queueing outside – because a few people threw stones and pieces of wood into the building. The protesters also complained about the rise of the bus fare since Monday.

Carlos AlbertoTorres captain of 1970's team

Carlos AlbertoTorres captain of 1970’s team

According to the Trophy Tour organisers there had been 12 thousand visitors in Belém( Pará ), which was the 21st capital to have the trophy exhibited. It had been to 90 countries before arriving in Brazil and today it has arrived in Teresina, capital of Piaui. After that it goes to Natal (22/5), João Pessoa (23 and 24/5), Fortaleza (25 and 26/5), Brasilia (27 and 28/5) finishing in São Paulo on 29/5 till 1st June.

For more photos of where the Cup has been go to


He is one of the best known Brazilian authors and was talking to the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche about his latest book Adultery (Flamarion, 200 pages ) but what repercuted in Brazil was the fact that he called fellow country man Ronaldo a fool and confirmed he was not going to Brazil for the World Cup,which starts 12th June.

I was in the official delegation with Lula, Dunga and Romario when FIFA chose Brazil. But I am very disappointed with everything that has happened since. We could use the money to build something other than stages in a country that needs everything: hospitals, schools, transport. Ronaldo is a fool for saying that it is not the role of the World Cup to build this infrastructure. He should have shut his mouth ..

Coelho in the group

Coelho, Dunga, President Lula, Romario and Teixeira

Living in Switzerland now, after a spell in France, Coelho has sold over 165 million books and chose a very simple plot (has he ever chosen any other kind?!)  for his latest: a married journalist’s relationship with a much younger woman. The interview is long acne mainly about his writing style and pirating in the internet but what caused headlines were his views on the World Cup.

The Seleção winning or not, I am sure there will be a social explosion. There will be people in the stadiums and even more people who will be demonstrating outside . It will be when the world will have their eyes on Brazil. The context is very tense.Violence returned. World Cup could be a blessing and a time of fellowship for us as it was for France or Germany. But it is a disaster. The country wants to show a face that is not the truth.There is a divide between the government and the people.

Read the whole article at Journal du Dimanche

Or a Brazilian article at


The Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo said TODAY (19/05)) that Brazil is prepared for any events that occur during the  World Cup in the months of June and July. Cardozo attended a meeting with heads of state intelligence organisations, in the capital Brasilia , to discuss the role of these institutions in the security of major events.

“With regards to the World Cup, we are prepared to face the demonstrations, being so to guarantee  freedom of expression, or to prevent abuse from occurring,” said the minister.

portrait of the minister

Justice Minister Cardozo

“We’ve had constant demonstrations on public roads, which is absolutely normal, within the established by the Constitution.  What we do not agree and accept is to use it for illicit acts. It is for the police authorities to preserve the freedom of people to express themselves and also deter and investigate violations that are committed, “he said.



In an interview for Radio Globo in Brazil yesterday, the ex-footballer Romario has again criticised Fifa’s secretary general Jerome Valcke. It was personal and not pretty.

“Coming from a blackmailer, corrupt like him, who is at FIFA, I’m not surprised.. With that statement, he means that people should be careful in Brazil. I do not expect anything different. I can’t wait for  the World Cup is over and we do not hear more about him  or  Blatter. Nothing positive will be left to Brazil in relation to the sporting legacy, “Romario said.

a portrait of Romario


The outburst was in response to Valcke’s comments published in the media, comparing Brazil to Germany. “Don’t think it is like Germany where you move easily from place to place all around the country. In Germany you could even sleep in your car. But not here in Brazil, you cannot do that”.

Personally, I think they both have missed a good opportunity to keep their mouths shut. There are so many more pressing problems with Brazil to pinpoint. And Romario… Well, not only could he have chosen his words better but also he should have chosen real problems with Valcke’s and Fifa’s approach to the World Cup to highlight.


The Brazilian Government has chosen the slogan “The Cup of the Cups” (Copa das Copas) to boost interest and support for the event. As a counterpoint to that, the various groups contrary to the event being held in Brazil  have named tomorrow’s stoppage as “The Demonstrations of the Demonstrations”. Simultaneous protests are planned for 50 different locations in Brazil and 15 abroad, including Berlin and London. They are protesting mainly against the amount of money being spent on the tournament in detriment to Education and Health.

The Government want this

The Government want this

But that's what they're getting

But that’s what they’re getting

They will block the traffic in several major routes in São Paulo (the biggest city in South America), protest in Rio and, most likely, the Capital Brasilia. All their plans are kept secret as there have been a lot of physical confrontation between police and demonstrations, including the death of a TV cameraman in Rio.


There is less than one month to go and  only 41% of all planned infrastructure are ready, according to an article at Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. Out of the 167 works expected to be done only 68 have been finished. Eleven projects have been abandoned and other 88 are either incomplete or will not be done before the start of the competition on 12th June.

A mosaic of all the stadia

The stadia. None fulfilled FIFA’s requirement

The worst department is exactly the one in which the population would have benefited most: urban mobility. Only 10% have been done!!! In other words: no airports improvement in most cities; no proper rail link between airports and cities. The group of journalist who have in the last 2 weeks analysed all the data also say that security and  telecommunications are other two areas which leave a lot out.

There is a video in the article which shows the team work. But it is in Portuguese

 A photo of the front cover



According to articles published in the Brazilian Press, FIFA’s secretary general, Jêrome Vaclke told the international  press during an event in Lausanne, Switzerland, that he lived through hell in the period pre-World Cup in Brazil . Also according to the article, Valcke changed tunes when interviewed by Brazilians.

a portrait of Jeromee Valcke

Jerome Valcke

To foreign media: “We lived in hell, especially because in Brazil there are three political levels. There were changes, election, and would not discuss things  with the same people,” said the official, noting that, in 2011, Lula was replaced by Dilma Rousseff  as President.

To Brazilians : “”There were not three years of hell. They were three difficult years, but both for Brazil and for us,” he said. “People thought it would be easy to organize a World Cup, but it is a real job.’s A real responsibility,” he added.


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