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June 12, 2014

Not all Brazilians overjoyed by World Cup

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The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup has begun, but not everyone in Brazil is happy to host the world’s most watched sporting event.

Brazil is spending over $15 billion on the celebration of what Brazilians call the joga bonito, the beautiful game.

Transit workers and others have protested, arguing that the money would have been better spent on health care, education and other public resources.

“Our country needs to invest in health care, education, public transportation and culture, not in stadiums, not in airports,” said teacher Maria De Lurdes Fonseca.

“We need public goods that go to the people, not FIFA, not to tourists,” she continued, “We want investments that stay here.”

In fact, the cost of bringing FIFA to Brazil is approximately equal to 61 percent of the country’s education budget.

In addition, the government relocated thousands of poor Brazilians to slums, called favelas, to make way for the new stadiums and hotels.

While Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff acknowledges the concerns of her people, she doesn’t believe the World Cup budget is diverting funds away from education and other public resources.

“There are people who claim the resources for the Cup should have been directed to health care and education,” said Rousseff, “I hear and respect those opinions, but I don’t agree with them.”

“From 2010 until 2013, the federal, state and municipal governments invested about $762 billion in education and healthcare, 212 times more than the amount invested in stadiums,” Rousseff continued.

As protesters continue their opposition, the Brazilian authorities say more than 150,000 police and military will secure the month-long tournament held across 12 Brazilian cities.


Warm up questions
  1. Where is Brazil? What language do they speak?
  2. What do people outside of the U.S. and Australia call soccer? Is it a popular sport globally?
Discussion questions
  1. Why are some Brazilians protesting the world’s largest viewed sporting event?
  2. Are you more likely to side with the protestors or FIFA and the Brazilian government? Support your answer with evidence.
  3. How would you feel if the United States was chosen to host a FIFA World Cup?
  4. What are some things that the U.S. government spends money on that you disagree with?
Writing prompt

Imagine you are the President of Brazil. Create a list of the pros and cons associated with hosting the FIFA World Cup. After weighing the costs and the benefits, make a decision to either accept or reject the invitation to host the world’s largest sporting event. Be sure to support your decision with evidence from the text and video.

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