Top ten reasons the World Cup in Brazil won’t be the big mess some say
It happens in every big sporting event. A wave of criticism and pessimism comes. And then, when the real thing is going on, most people are surprised. “I thought this would be terrible.” I heard that in the Beijing Olympics from a Hong Kong couple. I heard that in the London Olympics from everyone I talked to during the first week of competition. Friends that worked in South Africa in the 2010 World Cup said no one believed the bubble of safety would do so well during football’s creme de la creme. Brazil won’t be different.
I find it very important to have an accurate sense of what really impacts in these events. Specially for Brazil. After the World Cup there will be elections and having a fair assessment is important not only for accountability, but also so politicians aren’t too praised for success. Success that is likely to come, although the majority of the population doesn’t think so now. Of course there are real reasons to worry and Brazil needs to speed up in loads. But be less alarmed.
Here is why.
10 – Stadia will be ready
If there is one thing that will work 100% during the World Cup, it is the stadia. Most of the yada-yada-yada comes because some people at Fifa are very intere$ted in having everything finished six months before the World Cup. They claim it is necessary for tests. No one in the Brazilian government agrees with that. Some say it is all about getting expensive emergency contracts to friends. I wouldn’t challenge that — it was exactly what happened in South Africa.
9 – Cheap hotels aren’t as necessary as decades ago.
I heard that from many people in organizing committees. It used to be a big issue, since most people come on a tight budget. But social media has really changed that. Less expensive accommodation isn’t as important as it was because people just stay with someone they met on Couch Surfing or Facebook. It could be a bigger challenge in cities with very few English speakers, such as Cuiabá or Manaus. But it is not going to be a gigantic problem.
8 – Airports are on the way
Of course it would have been better if they had been finished earlier on. But anyone traveling around Brazil can see there are major works in the biggest airports, except for Rio’s. São Paulo and Brasília, which are supposed to be the most important hubs, will have a much better airport within a few months. If you are in doubt just visit and you will see that.
7 – The Armed Forces will do the policing
Violent groups that have taken protests hostage in the last weeks will have a much tougher challenge. Soldiers are much different from the military policy, that aberration we have since the dictatorship years (1964-1985). That has worked well in various occasions, including the recent visit by Pope Francis.
6 – Rio’s most hated politician probably will be out of office
Rio’s governor Sergio Cabral is probably the biggest target of protesters in Brazil (no, president Dilma Rousseff isn’t nearly as hated, as previous posts here show). It is very likely he will leave office by April because of electoral law. He can’t run for reelection anymore. His deputy isn’t doing well in the polls.
5 – Prices will be regulated by the government
Taking heed from South Africa, Brazil decided to investigate prices so tourists aren’t shocked when they come. Brazil is already very expensive, but at least there will be some care in that regard. South Africa suffered massively in 2010 because hotels and airlines doubled their prices during the World Cup.
4 – Brazilians are friendly
Language can be an issue. But Brazilians help. I spent two months in China and no one helped me when I needed, even during the Olympics (except for the policeman who escorted me to the Immigration Ministry). Perhaps they didn’t want to be seen with foreigners. Brazilians can be too helpful sometimes. And that is particularly true in the poorest regions.
3 – Brazilians adapt
We are used to dire straits. Perhaps we won’t come with the most perfect solutions. But those that do appear are likely to be good enough. And that is particularly true in transportation — just try to stuff six people in a cab in London to see what happens. Shared rides will also be a big thing. I bet most foreigners will make friends quickly so they can enjoy those.
2 – People prepare for the World Cup
I know it sounds stupid, but anyone going to a big sporting event actually prepares. I certainly do. Of course Brazil could be risky. But those who come will be more than prepared to map where they should go and where they shouldn’t. Perhaps they will be so prepared they are alarmed enough not to enjoy. Anyway, very few people decide to go to the World Cup just because.
1 – It is a freaking party, for Christ’s sake
Most people that will come are not as terrified as the people who stay home in fear. They are in a different spirit and they will try to enjoy themselves, not mumble about everything all day long. How could it be different?