While the pomp and circumstance of the 2014 World Cup draw took place in the Brazilian coastal resort town of Costa do Sauipe, a group of activists protested several hundred miles away in Brasilia.
The unique demonstration depicted a young woman in a bridesmaid dress walking along a red carpet laid out in front of the Brazilian Congress building and flanked by activists holding signs calling for improvements of social services.
The protest occurred days after Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo tried to downplay problems with the organization of next year’s World Cup by noting, “In every wedding that I attended the bride was late... But I've never seen a wedding not happen because of that.”
“The minster symbolizes the culture of delays in the Brazilian state,” claimed Antonio Costa, a member of the “Rio da Paz” nongovernment organization (NGO) that organized Friday’s protest.
“These delays are in the government’s policies such as health care and education which are priorities for our society,” added Costa.
Other demonstrations were held in Rio de Janeiro where several NGOs held an “anti-draw” protest near the Maracaná Stadium where the World Cup final will be played.
“This is a counterpoint to what is going on Bahia: a raffle for bigwigs at a totally isolated resort,” said Mario Campagnani, one of the protest’s coordinators.
“Let us do a draw for the people where we don’t forget the irregularities of the privatization of the Maracaná,” he added.
The attendance of today’s protests paled in comparison to the mass demonstrations that took place nationwide during the Confederations Cup in June. Nevertheless, there is plenty of anger in Brazil over the billions of dollars in public funds being spent in venues and infrastructural improvements for the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. This ire has likely intensified after world soccer governing body FIFA announced that construction on at least three stadiums expected to be completed this month could be completed as late as March.
As a result of the problems with organizing of the World Cup, Brazilian security authorities and FIFA officials are anticipating expect major protests during the tournament in June and July:
"It is a right to demonstrate," said (FIFA general secretary Jerome) Valcke. "For them, it's the best time. For me, it's the wrong time"…
He said: "[It's] the wrong time [to protest] because it is a time where Brazil should enjoy a unique time, a time they have not enjoyed since 1950.
"A time where they have a national team who won the Confederations Cup - a team that is the potential winner of the World Cup 2014.
"So there should be support from all Brazil for the organization of the World Cup.
"We are not asking [them] to support Fifa, we are asking [them] to support the World Cup. We are asking [them] to support an event they won five times already and they dream to win for the first time at home."Regarding the World Cup draw, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia benefitted from being placed in groups against weaker opponents while Chile and Ecuador face a trickier path to move on to the Round of 16. Meanwhile, the countries representing North and Central America (Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the U.S.) were placed in several “Groups of Death” and run a high risk of getting eliminated in the group stages.
The draw ceremony itself was even a source of controversy with a “heated discussion on social media” regarding the choice of a light-skinned Brazilian couple as masters of ceremony.
Video Source– YouTube via user laaficion (A little more than twenty people reportedly protested near the site of the 2014 World Cup draw in Bahia, Brazil.)
Online Sources – BBC News; The Guardian; The Latin Americanist; El Tiempo;
Terra Brasil; FOX Sports