How Will Brazil's Political Unrest Affect World Cup Preparations?

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor IJune 24, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 20:  Security personnel stand guard outside of the Maracana prior to the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group B match between Spain and Tahiti on June 20, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Over the past two weeks, Brazil's major cities have been hit by a spate of protests against corruption and wastefulness among the country's ruling bodies, with an initial protest against the increase in bus ticket prices in Sao Paulo spreading around the country.

Inevitably, some of the protests have drawn minorities intent on vandalism and looting. However, for the most part, the political nature of the disputes have remained.

While not directly protesting against the staging of the Confederations Cup or World Cup in the country, the costs of the tournaments' hosting is a major reason behind the discontent.

FIFA may wish to downplay that message, but it is clear that the Brazilian public are not happy at having been misled of the funding of the two tournaments.

Initially, it was promised to the Brazilian public that the new stadiums would be funded by private investment, with the government then to invest in infrastructural developments. Sadly, that has not been the case—causing many to criticise the organisation of the events.

But, will the recent troubles have any effect on the country's hosting of the World Cup next year?

To begin with, it is important to state that it is unlikely that Brazil will not host the tournament as planned.

There have been suggestions that the tournament could be moved to an alternative host country, but while there are no doubt backup plans are in place, that will surely be seen as a last resort decision.

What is more likely, though, is that the current wave of protests forces the Brazilian government to look at ways of making the World Cup more inclusive, and of encouraging FIFA and their sponsors to invest in the country.

President Dilma Rousseff spoke earlier this week of seeking out more private investment for the stadia that have been built, in order to meet earlier promises and cut the burden of the Brazilian tax payer. The only issue is, many are past believing the promises of Brazil's politicians.

The protests will inevitably die down at some point. Those involved are not seeking to overthrow the government, and there are few party allegiances being promoted.

This, instead, is a protest to raise leaders' awareness of what the people want for the country, and of the growing disparity between the haves and have—nots.

There will, though, be recriminations. The policing of crowds will need to be evaluated ahead of the World Cup, with some of the military police having used excessive force at will over recent days.

Problems with aggressive policing in Brazil are not uncommon and must be looked at, while there may also be political scapegoats among those who have tried to downplay the movements.

In general, it is unlikely that the World Cup will suffer any great ill effect because of the protests—that is not the aim. However, Brazil has some issues that must be sorted before inviting the world to their doorstep twice in the next three years (including the 2016 Olympic Games).

Make bold moves for a better future now and the country can bask in the glory and attention that the coming events will bring. For the sake of Brazil's development, though, those in power must heed the messages of recent weeks.