Federal prosecutors in Brazil have sought an injunction to block the use of public funds to pay for temporary infrastructure at stadiums that will host games at soccer’s World Cup next year.
The measure could save almost 1.2 billion reis ($546 million) in public money, according to the federal prosecutor’s office, which is known by its Portuguese acronym MPF. It says structures such as tents and cabling, along with communication equipment for broadcasters, offer no long term benefit to society and should be paid for by FIFA, soccer’s governing body, and local organizers of the event.
“The public interest is not served by these costs that will not leave any legacy for the Brazilian people,” the MPF said in a statement.
World Cup finances have come under greater scrutiny since June, when Brazilians took to the street in record numbers to protest issues including state spending on sports events. Demonstrators say the money should go to providing better health care, schools and transportation.
Brazil is spending about $3.5 billion to build or refurbish 12 stadiums for the month-long tournament and cases related to it are piling up.
The country’s supreme court has yet to rule on actions linked to the constitutionality of a special law created to meet FIFA’s hosting requirements, along with a case against tax exemptions given to the soccer ruling body and its commercial partners. The six cities that hosted the Confederations Cup tournament in June are also separately suing to get back 229.7 million reais spent on temporary structures for that event.
FIFA, a not-for-profit organization that generates about $5 billion in sales from the World Cup, said “liability related to complementary structures were clearly stated in contracts” signed by stadium owners in 2007. The body said it and the local organizing committee, or LOC, were responsible for hospitality areas, commercial display areas, food concessions and official products stores.
“In order to further reduce the investment made by the stadium owners in the complementary structures, the LOC and FIFA are reviewing all of the requirements, as they did in February 2013 for the FIFA Confederations Cup, when there was a significant decrease in scope,” FIFA said in an e-mailed statement.