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SBD Global/May 29, 2014/International Football

World Cup Organizing Committee Member Havelange Says Budget Spent Or Stolen

World Cup Organizing Committee Member Joana Havelange has sparked controversy in Brazil.
Brazil World Cup Organizing Committee Member Joana Havelange has "sparked controversy by telling protesters angry over the tournament budget that the money had already been spent or stolen," according to the AFP. Reacting to the wave of protests over the more than $11B being spent on the event, Havelange "chided demonstrators calling for some of that money to be redirected toward health, education and transport, telling them they were too late." Havelange said, "I want the World Cup to go off as well as possible. I'm not going to fight against it, as however much was spent, stolen, already has been" (AFP, 5/28). BLOOMBERG's Tariq Panja wrote Havelange’s grandfather, Joao, resigned as honorary president of FIFA last year after it said that "he received bribes." She is the daughter of Ricardo Teixeira, who resigned as Brazilian football president last year following FIFA saying that "he had taken kickbacks." The money transfers "were not against FIFA’s rules at the time," since it did not have a code of ethics until '04. The World Cup organizing committee said that Joana Havelange "was acting in a private capacity and declined to comment further" (BLOOMBERG, 5/28).

TRAVEL BAN: In London, Simon de Bruxelles wrote nearly 2,500 people convicted of football violence "have been ordered to surrender their passports in the run up to the World Cup." A total of 2,377 English football fans who have been made subject to football banning orders "will not be allowed to leave the country while England remains in the tournament." Anyone failing to hand their passport to their local police station "could be re-arrested and brought before magistrates and may have the banning order extended" (LONDON TIMES, 5/28).

NO FLAIR: In a separate article, Panja wrote take a look around Rio de Janeiro, the "Marvelous City," with just 15 days to kickoff, "and there is little sign of Rio’s signature World Cup flair." Natan Ferreira, a 44-year-old electrician, said as he rigged lines of plastic Brazil flags in Praca Maracana, "It’s very weak this year. We’ve just got these flags, nothing else. It was much bigger in 2010" (BLOOMBERG, 5/28). In London, Maria Tadeo wrote with two weeks to go until the World Cup, "the host city of Manaus has declared state of emergency as the waters of an Amazon River tributary began to swell, forcing authorities to take preventives measures ahead of the games." The 180-day state of emergency went into effect on Tuesday "to assure swift access to emergency services if the Rio Negro spills into the city," although authorities do not expect it to flood. City hall spokesperson Jacira Oliveira said that even if there are floods, it will not affect the Arena Amazonia stadium "which will host four World Cup games including England vs Italy" on June 14 (INDEPENDENT, 5/28). WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER's Nick Devlin wrote 50 police officers from Sao Paulo "were recently trained in crowd control strategies, the use of force, and more by the FBI." The World Cup "was the driving force behind organizing the five-day workshop." Other topics addressed "include decision making, interacting with media, and use of intelligence in identifying acts of vandalism" (WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER, 5/27).

: CHINA DAILY's Zhang Fan wrote China's technology "has traveled all the way from Asia to help create a safer World Cup." Beijing-based Nuctech Company "just installed a 90 X-Ray Inspection system for the Arena de Sao Paulo, the stadium that will hold the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup." Besides Arena de Sao Paulo, Nuctech "will also provide security inspection facilities for eight World Cup stadiums across Brazil, with a total amount of around 600 pieces of equipment" (CHINA DAILY, 5/28).

: ESPN's Ian Holyman wrote FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said there should be no regrets over giving Brazil the World Cup and that "nothing bad will happen" during the tournament. Valcke "has himself repeatedly sounded a note of caution with regard to the country's readiness for the World Cup." However, he insisted that "the decision to award Brazil the opportunity to host the tournament had been right, even if Rio de Janeiro's staging of the 2016 Olympics had had an impact on preparations." Valcke: "You cannot regret organizing the World Cup in Brazil because it's a football country. It's not been a lot more complicated than South Africa" (ESPN, 5/28). REUTERS' Andrew Downie wrote a public prosecutor in central Brazil "has accused the federal government of false advertising and has opened a civil suit to force it to suspend a publicity campaign that claims the country is ready to host next month's World Cup." A statement from the Goias state federal prosecutor’s office said, "The government campaign advertises that the tournament will bring great benefits to Brazilians through investments in urban infrastructure and public services. However, that is not the reality we are seeing" (REUTERS, 5/27).
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