World Cup Official Havelange Urges Fans to Get Over WasteTariq Panja
Joana Havelange, who is on the board of the organizing committee for next month’s World Cup, shared a social media message telling fellow Brazilians to get over the $11 billion event’s waste and theft.
“What’s been spent, what’s been robbed, has already happened,” said an excerpt of a message shared on social networking website Instagram by Havelange. “Destroying what we have today won’t change what will be done tomorrow.”
The World Cup, which kicks off June 12 in Sao Paulo with Brazil playing Croatia, has been the subject of criticism about the amount the host nation is spending on soccer’s showpiece event. Authorities are expecting protests following demonstrations during last year’s Confederations Cup, a warmup event held in six of the 12 host cities.
The latest estimate for 12 new and refurbished stadiums shows costs of about 8 billion reais ($3.6 billion), 2.7 billion reais more than the first detailed estimate issued in 2010 and almost four times the amount Brazil told soccer’s governing body stadiums would cost in its 2007 hosting file.
Almost every arena is more expensive than anticipated, with the publicly funded Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia the most expensive at $900 million, almost three times the original estimate. The facility is now the second most-expensive soccer stadium behind England’s $1.2 billion Wembley Stadium.
Protests continued in Brazil yesterday. A policeman was injured when he was struck in the leg by an arrow during a protest. Indigenous groups joined opponents of the tournament in a demonstration that halted an event to promote the World Cup trophy sponsored by Coca-Cola Co.
Havelange’s grandfather, Joao, resigned as honorary president of soccer’s world governing body FIFA last year after it said he received bribes. She is the daughter of Ricardo Teixeira, who resigned as Brazilian soccer 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 didn’t have a code of ethics until 2004.
The World Cup organizing committee said Joana Havelange was acting in a private capacity and declined to comment further.