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The Brazil World Cup 2014 challenge
by Paul Kennedy, October 31st, 2007 7:01AM

TAGS:  brazil, world cup


[MY VIEW] FIFA's decision to abandon the rotation system for awarding future World Cups might very well cost the USA the chance to host the World Cup in the near term.

The flaw with FIFA's policy of awarding the World Cup to countries from different confederations was very much evident in the choice of Brazil as host of the 2014 finals.

Brazil was not the overwhelming choice to host the 2014 finals. Brazil was FIFA's only choice, and its bid was accepted, holes and all.

Brazil will have a host of organizational and political issues to overcome as it goes forward.

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and 12 state governors flew to Zurich to attend Tuesday's ceremony at FIFA headquarters, but the most famous Brazilian was notably absent. Pele has been a harsh critic of Brazilian soccer's corruption and mismanagement.

If the way Brazilian soccer is run, there will be no way Brazil will be ready in seven years.

Brazil faces a host of issues.

Its massive stadiums are antiquated and ill-equipped to host the World Cup. Even the famous Maracana in Rio de Janeiro and Morumbi and Sao Paulo may have to be rebuilt.

The Brazil bid calls for a capital investment of $1.1 billion, but that figure should increase drastically. Critics point out that projected costs for the 2007 Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro increased nine-fold!

In this regard, Brazil is even worse off than the much-criticized South Africa stadium situation. South Africa, host of the 2010 World Cup, already had at its disposal several modern stadiums used primarily for rugby, the sport at which it was recently crowned World Cup champion.

Like South Africa, Brazil is a security nightmare -- with a high rate of murders and violent crimes.

Lots of infrastructure work -- roads, highways, public transportation -- needs to be done around Brazil's proposed stadiums, but no cost projections have been made public.

Under FIFA's new system for awarding the World Cup, the USA would probably be in line to next host the finals in 2026 -- after England and China in 2018 and 2022.

The USA's best bet in the short term may be that Brazil 2014 will collapse, forcing FIFA to seek a ready-to-go host like the USA as a fill-in.


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