"[FIFA] comes, sets up the circus, they don't spend anything, and they take everything with them."- Romário (Brazil's legendary former striker)
How is it that a private company like FIFA can overrule the laws of a country?
FIFA refusing to pay taxes to the countries that host the World Cup is just one of many troubling ways that this company does business. Since 2007 - when FIFA selected Brazil to host the World Cup in 2014 - the Brazilian Government has issued many provisional measurements, at the behest of FIFA, to protect the company and its partners' interests. For instance, the so called "general law of the World Cup" says that host states and cities can shorten the environmental licensing process and fall into levels of debt beyond the limits imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility Law to expedite construction projects for the World Cup events.
It's like FIFA's a small country within a country.
Within a host country, FIFA maintains exclusion zones consisting of the stadiums plus a 2Km radius around them. In these zones FIFA controls the movement of people, the security apparatus, and monitors the use of brands that it considers to be property of FIFA (such as the name of the event and the mascot.) FIFA also protects the exclusive sale of its sponsors – from beer to hamburgers in these zones, so Brazilian street vendors cannot get closer than 2Km from the stadiums. According to the non profit organization Streetnet, in South Africa 100,000 street vendors lost their source of income during the World Cup. A similar situation is expected to take place in Brazil.
EVICTIONS: In the lead up to the World Cup, negligence can be justified due to a "state of emergency". Therefore, many of the host countries' social and environmental laws are trampled on without great resistance. Forced evictions are one example of this phenomenon playing out in Brazil. It is estimated that about 170,000 people will lose their homes because of the event. Due to FIFA's power over the Brazilian legislation and the arbitrariness of this "state of emergency", it is very difficult for Brazilians to even access the proper information needed to protest against these wrongful evictions.
PROTESTS CAN BE CONSIDERED ACTS OF TERRORISM: Amongst the security measurements imposed by FIFA, one is the alteration of the crime of terrorism, with harsh penalties for those who promote "widespread panic". Demonstrations and protests against the World Cup can become framed as causing widespread panic.
VISAS FOR EVERYONE: FIFA also has control over the entry and exit of tourists and visas are guaranteed for all those who buy tickets.
Read more about what's fueling the protests in Brazil leading up to the 2014 World Cup.
Hello, I'm Roberto and I'm Brazilian. This is a picture of some friends and I taking part in recent protests in Fortaleza - Ceara, Brazil.
Recently Brazil has spent billions preparing for the FIFA World Cup and, from what I've seen, the average Brazilian is not better off.
"We want schools and hospitals, not stadiums"
I have seen firsthand the effects of poor public healthcare and education here. I have seen people on the verge of dying in corridors of hospitals waiting for a doctor. As a teacher, it really shames me to know that Brazil was second to last in the world ranking of education conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
According to Brazil's Internal Revenue Service, FIFA's tax exemptions will cost $248.7 million - money that could otherwise be reinvested in improving public health and education in the host country.
The question that we must all ask ourselves now is, who is this World Cup really for?