A nice crowd at Lockhart Stadium in addition to a national television audience on Univision Deportes witnessed Cruzeiro’s 4-0 friendly win over NASL outfit Fort Lauderdale Strikers. But the real story wasn’t the match but the continued growth of the protest movement in Brazil and how ex-pats in the United States feel about it.
Dozens of signs filled the Lockhart crowd including the one above showing sympathy with the protesters that have taken to the streets in Brazilian cities since the beginning of the Confederations Cup. Speaking to fans in the crowd two sentiments stuck out above all else. The first was that political corruption and no-bid contracts which drove the costs of stadium building had in the minds of most hurt the Brazilian economy also considering the opportunity costs it represented for an emerging economy like Brazil’s.
The second overriding sentiment was anger at FIFA- Football’s governing body whose exorbitant requirements for any host nation have forced Brazil to spend billions on new stadiums including razing neighborhoods, displacing people and existing businesses.
Many fans are urging foreigners to boycott the World Cup. The feeling is that it won’t really help Brazil’s economy but simply serve to line the pockets of FIFA and corrupt Brazilian politicians. But considering the outlay of funds already undertaken by the nation, it is hard to see how boycotting the World Cup would help the situation economically. However, symbolically the protesters are correct in saying that some sort demonstration of displeasure by foreigners with the processes FIFA uses to award these tournaments and the requirements they place hosts nations must be reformed.
Those who go to the World Cup next summer ought to show some sympathy and solidarity with the Brazilian people rather than just cow towing to FIFA’s continued aloofness and exploitation of people’s love for football.