Let’s Be Careful In Categorizing The Role Of Soccer In Brazil
As many know and witnessed, one of the stories during the FIFA Confederations Cup, which was held in Brazil, was that of the protests that were held outside of stadiums and in a number of cities related to a number of grievances.
As a result of the protests that were held, many questions, assumptions and points have been made by individuals with regards to the protests and their role in either fueling or potentially being calmed down because the national team would go on to win the tournament.
Because so much has been written on the subject, there are two points which I have seen mentioned on various outlets that I think are wrong and/or misguided in the way which they are presenting that viewpoint.
The first of these notions is that somehow, because of the protests, FIFA would move the World Cup next summer out of Brazil and take it to another country, something mentioned and discussed by a number of American colleagues.
Any talk of this during and after the Confederations Cup is misguided and just very wishful dreaming that had no chance of ever happening. While yes, there were a number of times in the lead up to the Confederations Cup that FIFA made comments about the stadium situation, once the Confederations Cup began, this became a moot point.
And to throw in that maybe FIFA would once again reconsider moving next summer’s World Cup because of the protests is assuming something that hasn’t happened. At this point, FIFA has done everything and is too deeply imbedded with the World Cup and the preparations for it being held in Brazil that it would stand to lose too much money by moving it out at this point.
The second notion that is off-base with regards to the protests that I have seen is that because the national team won the Confederations Cup on Sunday, this somehow will unify a divided country. Respectfully, to somehow connect and intertwine both is either being lazy, off-base or just not fully understanding the entire situation at hand.
First and foremost, Brazil is not a “divided” country at this moment. If you want an example of what a “divided” country looks like, read and follow the happenings of what is going on in Egypt and in Turkey — to a certain extent – to understand what is a divided country. While there are differing grievances depending on income status and region, those related to corruption and inadequate infrastructure and basic services are shared by the vast majority of Brazilians.
If anything, all Brazilians have done and are doing is using a very public international sporting event to have their voice heard that they are fed up with many things of the current political system, and as citizens of a country that has entered the next level economically and as a democracy, they demand better.
But to say that a win in a tournament that is a step below in importance of winning a World Cup or continental tournament will pacify the people of the country is flat out short sighted. The success on the field of the national team has nothing to do with the fact that the larger issues that will still need to be addressed over time.
Having received an advanced degree in International Relations, the fact that protests have taken place during the Confederations Cup allowed me to follow and evaluate the two subjects which I have shown the most interest in in my life up to this point.
Some of what has been said related to the protests and staging of the Confederations Cup and the World Cup next summer have been off-base given that they fail to either adequately understand the reason and significance of the protests and/or it’s affect on the tournaments.
While FIFA actions have certainly played a role in the happenings, there is too much too lose for it to up and bail at this point while the local politicians are beginning to understand the capabilities of what a growing middle class in a maturing society is able to express without fear.
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