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Brazilian legend Romario questions 2014 World Cup

Jun 25, 2013, 11:29 AM EDT

Romario AP

As the protests continue across Brazil, one of the countries greatest ever players has spoken of his disdain towards Fifa and the tournament being held in his homeland.

Romario, who is now a congressman for the Brazilian Socialist party (PSB), is on the warpath after World Cup plans have altered drastically since Brazil was awarded the tournament.

In a wonderfully crafted piece published in the Guardian, the former superstar striker has admitted that he initially backed the World Cup bid for Brazil 2014 but now believes the only people to benefit from the showpiece event will be Fifa. He claims soccer’s world governing body is set to make a $4 billion profit, tax-free.

With uproar across Brazil, Romario has sided with the protestors on the street as he calls for the country’s finances to be used elsewhere as the crippling costs of hosting the event has left parts of Brazil’s economy in tatters. The protestors aren’t necessarily against the World Cup, they just see it as yet another distraction standing in the way of Brazil becoming a better nation.

The politicians have neglected many important areas and Romario believes the country must come first instead of hosting the World Cup.

Despite an announcement yesterday that over $23 billion would be spent on public transport, the conditions in hospitals and schools are “deplorable” according to Romario. And he believes no legacy will be left behind after the World Cup is over and because of that, Brazil 2014 will be a failure.

President Dilma Rousseff repeats what former president Lula said, reassuring us that we’ll “host the best World Cup of all time”. I don’t agree, because we have failed on what matters most: a legacy to make us proud. Only Fifa is profiting, and this is one more good reason to go to the streets and protest. I never thought the World Cup would solve all of our problems, but now my fear is that this mega event will only deepen the problems we already have.

For a player that seemed hot-headed and egocentric on the pitch, damn, he talks a good deal of sense off it. Romario is in a unique situation. He was one of the men who made Brazil famous all over the world for their soccer exploits. Yet the former Barcelona star is now rallying against having the World Cup in his country, as he can see up close the harm it is causing to his proud nation.

I don’t know about you, but after this strong statement from one of Brazil’s greatest ever players, on every newscast televising the protests I’ll be looking out for a diminutive figure called Romario leading the people on their charge.

Preach it.

  1. geojock - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Yep. FIFA is one of the most wealthy, powerful organizations in the world that essentially has to be accountable to no one. World cups in SA or Brazil are probably done to give FIFA absolute power over these counties to rape and pillage or, at best, just simply horribly naive.

  2. jpi75 - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    I remember reading last year a suggestion that WC 2022 was given to Qatar (over the US) partially b/c everyone knew that if Qatar faltered in its quest to build the stadia, then the US could possibly host the WC with very limited preparation (we have the fields, the infrastructure, the hotels, etc.). But as far as Brazil is concerned, is it not already too late for them to turn back? The money is (presumably) spent. If they ceased preparations for the WC and continuing improvements, would they not be wasting their money?

    • canis216 - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Well, that’s sunk costs for you. I believe they still have infrastructure to be built, and tickets and other associated tourism boosts from the tournament might not be enough to offset that. If that’s the case (I honestly don’t know) it might be best just to cost their losses.

      • canis216 - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        Excuse me… “cut” their losses. Need some caffeine in here.

  3. jdvalk - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Support the effort back when supporting it was popular, express outrage when FIFA’s completely expected excesses come out (all while knowing that as with the Olympics, accountability is never going to come), and then wave the flag and cheer from a luxury suite with family and friends when the event arrives. The never ending story…

    • charliej11 - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Let me present another unending story though.

      Private companies putting public money, used to build stadiums, in competition with each other for the profit of….private companies.

      Is there a professional basketball team in Seattle ? No. Why ? The story moved to OKCity.

  4. seanb20124 - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Romario was for the WC before he was against the WC. Who does he think he is John Kerry?

    PS: Brazil has known they were hosting since 2003.

  5. footballer4ever - Jun 25, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Romario, not only became a professional footballer, but now has become into a “professional” politician.

  6. hjworton46 - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    Romario talks truth; the world cup is great for FIFA, can be a nightmare for everyone else involved in organising. Brasil has known this for many years, it’s the reality of the situation.

  7. footballer4ever - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM


    Romario does not talk thruth. He talks convenient thruth. Knowing how Fifa operates, how come Romario did not speak the necessary thruth prior to that. Ahhh, he’s a politician! Politicians act on convenience and will make them popular.

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