So, the season of the world cup has begun yet again.

The 32-nation tournament will cost Brazil 25.8 billion reais (6.92 billion pounds) in investments in stadiums, airports, urban transport and other infrastructure improvements. One third has been spent on new or renovated stadiums in 12 host cities.

Why the investment?
So, the season of the world cup has begun yet again.

The 32-nation tournament will cost Brazil 25.8 billion reais (6.92 billion pounds) in investments in stadiums, airports, urban transport and other infrastructure improvements. One third has been spent on new or renovated stadiums in 12 host cities.

The ideas behind Brazil’s choices are tagged to long term economic gains.

For instance, the FIFA said it was Brazil’s choice to build 12 stadiums instead of opting for eight or 10, and investments include infrastructure not directly linked to the World Cup that will benefit the country for years to come.[1]

Whilst the immediate gains from the world cup may not be great, countries are led by the belief that it would lead to long term economic benefits ranging from tangibles such as increased tourism and intangibles such as credibility as business hubs for MNCs, advertisement revenues etc. The nation’s economy is forecasted to grow by at least $70 billion as a result of its hosting the World Cup, the Brazilian Ministry of Sports said July 6 in a statement. The figure is based on the country’s investments in private and public investment in infrastructure, heightened consumption, increased activity in the services sector and, of course, tax collection.[2]

So, the season of the world cup has begun yet again.
The 32-nation tournament will cost Brazil 25.8 billion reais (6.92 billion pounds) in investments in stadiums, airports, urban transport and other infrastructure improvements. One third has been spent on new or renovated stadiums in 12 host cities.

Many Brazilians, however, consider the price tag excessive for a developing nation that has more important priorities and say the money should have been spent on improvements to deficient public services in health, education and transport.

The high costs have brought disillusionment with the top event in a sport Brazilians are passionate about. The resulting anti-World Cup movement triggered massive street protests a year ago and threatens to disrupt access to Cup stadiums.

As far as reports have gone, the Police methods used since then have been rather aggressive, although they cited the use of “progressive force” to keep the demonstration under control and have insisted protesters have been kept away from the ground , although reports continue to surface about its continued rife.[3] [1]http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/10/uk-soccer-world-cost-idUKKBN0EL26X20140610
[2]http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2011/07/08/fifa-world-cup-forecast-to-add-70-bln-to-brazils-economy/

So why are countries still so hooked towards opportunities to host the World Cup?
The first reason is the idea of supposed international prestige after hosting the World Cup. The common perception by most is that winning bidder of World Cups gains international fame from the organization of such an event.

Of course, what happens on the field matters too. Most participating countries take pride in the fact that their teams can progress through the World Cup qualifying stages and surprise pundits – as Greece did during 2004. To the powerhouses like Spain and Germany, the expectations naturally scale up, and people expect more from them.

That’s not to say achievements in the World Cup are only measured by winning the whole thing—or even winning games at all—but it is to say that there is something deeply sonorous and bleak that comes with being knocked out.

Yet, if one of football—and, indeed, sport’s—truest beauties is that it provides a vehicle for sharing the power of an emotion with others, then the importance of losing is the essence of that virtue more than victory.

Possible Social issues
Yet, social rife and prostitution remains a worry.

According the recent Independent expose on downtown Belo Horizonte, it was discovered that most prostitutes who work the city are getting English classes from a volunteer in order to cash in on the six matches the city’s Mineirão stadium will host (including one semi-final). All the while, tucked away at the back of an indoor car-park, is Aprosmig – a union for those within the industry in the state of Minas Gerais (the name is a contraction of the “Minas Gerais association of prostitutes”).[4]

As with South Africa, most protestors against the Brazilian World Cup argue that the organizing of the World cup was not going to solve the fundamental economic and social problems facing the country. And a look at South Africa’s current situation may be a source of concern.

[3]http://www.soccerwire.com/news/global/world-cup-in-brazil-will-showcase-world-class-talent-on-the-field-but-social-unrest-lurking-off-it/?loc=psw/5321
[4]http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/brazils-sex-trade-how-the-countrys-one-million-prostitutes-are-preparing-for-the-world-cup-9457494.html

Despite South African authorities pointing out that South Africa experienced increased tourism rates (with 21 percent increase in U.S. tourist arrivals as of 2014 alone) , the high upkeep costs of the stadiums and continued poor economic outlook paint a very different picture.[5]

Since it opened its doors before the World Cup, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has been attracting on average just over 300,000 visitors a year, only three times the record 94,700 who turned up on one day at Soccer City to watch the South African Springbok rugby side play New Zealand in 2010.

Its owners decline to reveal annual up-keep costs, which may be as high as 65 million rand, according to two university studies, but they concede that it runs at a loss of 13 million rand a year – a bill that the municipality has to pick up.[6]

As the figures show, South Africa’s rate of real economic growth from its macroeconomic outlook has yet to really surpass that of its neighbours in the continent.[7]

Besides, with so many other social demands in one of South Africa’s poorest regions, turning it round is a low priority, and an important reminder to Brazil on what their true economic and social responsibilities are.

[5]http://finance.yahoo.com/news/south-africa-still-winning-2010-140000677.html
[6]http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/06/uk-safrica-soccer-idUKKBN0EH1HG20140606
[7]http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/fileadmin/uploads/aeo/PDF/South%20Africa%20Full%20PDF%20Country%20Note.pdf

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An avid reader, I consistently engage myself in the areas of current affairs and understanding of international relations, whilst at the same time, am interested in the area of economics and understanding the roles of economic concerns in the political economy. You can follow The Heralding on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Google+. Alternatively subscribe to our newsletter to be kept up to date with the latest articles on the Heralding.

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