With criticism flanking the Brazilian government at all sides for their slow and at times overly expensive preparations for the 2014 World Cup, frustrations are even starting to mount for those who stand to benefit—specifically Brazilian assistant coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.
In an interview with Radio CBN over the weekend, Parreira said it was "a joke" that Brazil was so delayed in integral structures necessary for the World Cup.
"We missed an opportunity to show the world what we can do in this country," Parreira said, per Tales Azzoni of the Associated Press (via Yahoo! News). "We missed an opportunity to provide more comfort to Brazilians and to show a different kind of Brazil."
Parreira, who won the 1994 World Cup as the manager of Brazil's national team, is merely the latest to speak out at a time where civil unrest is spiking.
About 2,500 protesters took to the streets of Sao Paulo this past weekend to voice their frustrations with the Brazilian government and FIFA, international football's governing body, in a demonstration that turned violent, per Moises Avila of Yahoo! News. Military police reported 128 arrests, as windows and other structures were attacked by more radical protesters.
These voiced concerns are nothing new—Brazilians have been upset about the country spending money on the World Cup over education and health fixes for years—but hearing them from someone with clout in the football community has to be concerning.
As noted by Azzoni, Parreira is joined by former players like Cafu, Bebeto and Rivaldo to criticize the government. While they have not spoken as strongly on the merits of holding the event versus spending the billions on civil services, the fact that stadiums are still incomplete is fueling fear.
"If Arena da Baixada (stadium in Curitiba) is not included, it would be a disaster, not only for FIFA but for Curitiba and Brazil," Cafu said, per Stephen Wade of the Associated Press (h/t The Kansas City Star).
"I'm sure Curitiba will be able to surprise us; otherwise it would be terrible for all of us Brazilians," Bebeto said. "We asked for the World Cup, we fought for our candidacy. It would really be terrible."
With just five months remaining before the World Cup is scheduled to begin, only seven of the 12 stadiums in Brazil are complete. Curitiba, in particular, is in doubt because of its secondary location and being well behind on construction. Should the stadiums go incomplete, not only would citizens of those areas go without watching World Cup action, but millions of dollars in renovations would also go down the drain.
Parreira said that everything—from construction to even work at the airports—has been a mess since the outset:
Everything was supposed to be ready for the World Cup, but it was a total neglect. I saw recently that they are going to start the bidding processes for (work at) airports in March, three months before the World Cup. It's a joke. We won the bid seven years ago and it's only now that they are starting these bidding processes.
It is still possible that all 12 locations will be complete. Parreira, even in his negativity, said he believes construction will get done in time and in a satisfactory manner under FIFA safety regulations. But the fact that he had to speak out at all highlights just how poorly this process has gone from start to finish—angering the citizenry and football figures.
With Rio de Janeiro due to host the Summer Olympics in 2016, it's certainly an interesting time for sport and government in Brazil.
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