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SBD Global/June 12, 2013/Finance

BRICS Nations Use Mega-Events To Boost Development Often At Cost To Public Purse

The growing influence of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in world affairs was symbolized by the staging of the 2008 Beijing Olympics  and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, "and will be further underlined by Brazil's forthcoming hosting of both events," according to Jonathan Watts of the London GUARDIAN. Host countries "have tried to use these mega-events to boost development by accelerating investments in infrastructure and lifting services, governance and local business" to int'l standards. However, the cost to the public purse and the communities affected can be enormous, "prompting criticism that the money would be better spent at grassroots level, on improving health and education, rather than on awarding prestige projects to construction companies." The IOC now "includes legacy issues in its regulations for the assessment of hosting bids," but FIFA makes no such formal consideration in deciding which nations should stage the World Cup. São Paulo Deputy Mayor Nádia Campeão said that FIFA "should do more to take the legacy issue into account." Campeão said, "But even if it is not worried, the host city should be. There has to be more assessment of their demands. Do we really need to do everything?" Campeão said that "the mega-events were worth the expense." Campeão: "The benefits are not just in tourism and business, but reach all the way through society" (GUARDIAN, 6/11).
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