By RYAN TOLMICH
With costs skyrocketing, this summer’s Brazilian World Cup is already set to be the priciest in tournament history and, despite promises to the contrary, it appears those paying for the soccer spectacle may just be the Brazilian public.
With the World Cup set to cost roughly $11.5 billion, and a majority of that coming from public funding, Brazil’s reckless spending and the ensuing protests have become a major storyline leading up to the tournament. One such investment, Brasilia’s Mane Garrincha stadium, is expected to total roughly $900 million, despite opening in a city that has no professional team.
Due the high costs, organizers have found ways to accumulate the money necessary to afford such a tournament. According to an AP report, political contributions have exploded during the build up to the tournament, signaling corruption fueled by politicians’ links to construction firms. For example, the lead builder of Brasilia’s stadium has increased its political donations 500-fold in the elections leading up to this summer’s tournament.
“These donations are making corruption in this country even worse and making it increasingly difficult to fight,” said Renato Rainha, who is investigating pre-World Cup spending. “These politicians are working for those who financed campaigns.”
According to the report, the auditors have found that one third of stadium costs can be attributed to overpricing while costs have quadrupled from their initial projections.
“Is there corruption in the Cup? Of course, without a doubt,” said Gil Castelo Branco, founder Open Accounts, a group that campaigns for transparency in government spending. “Corruption goes where the money is, and in Brazil today, the big money is tied up in the Cup.”
Despite initial promises stating that stadiums would be privately funded, public money has been funneled into the stadium project. Initially, public funding was intended to go towards infrastructure and transportation. However, funding for the Brasilia stadium came solely from the district coffers, meaning tax payers funded every dollar. According to the report, $28 million public dollars were lost just to poor planning and discarded steel. Auditors also found $2.3 million spent on items that were billed for multiple times.
Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo spoke out in reference to the allegations and assured the public that they had not been misled.
“No disservice will be done to the people because of this Cup,” Rebelo said. “If any corruption is proven, it will go through our legal system and punishments will be handed out for anyone found responsible.”
What do you think of the report? Will corruption be the lasting legacy of this summer’s tournament?
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