Pele, Brazil, engulfed in turmoil, as World Cup tournament looms

Anti-government protesters demonstrate at the security perimeter two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Castelao stadium in Fortaleza where Spain and Italy are to clash in their FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 semifinal football match, on June 27, 2013. Riot and mounted police set up roadblocks on access roads leading to the stadium as several thousand young demonstrators peacefully rallied outside Ceara State University in Fortaleza Thursday, hours before the match. Nationwide anti-government protests in Brazil initially focused on a hike in transport fares before mushrooming to encompass a variety of gripes including corruption and the lack of investment in health and education as well as to denounce the high costs of hosting the Confederations Cup and next year's World Cup.   AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA        (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Anti-government protesters demonstrate in Brazil as the World Cup nears.

By Carmen Glover

As soccer lovers wait impatiently for the World Cup tournament to begin in Brazil in June, reports continue to surface about the turmoil that has engulfed the host country due to deaths at construction sites, ongoing strikes by workers and outspoken comments by enduring Brazilian soccer legend and global icon: Pele, who has brought his country the World Cup championship three times and is now an adviser to the World Cup organizers

pele

Brazilian soccer legend Pele has accused the World Cup organizers of stealing the money that should have been spent on construction. He has been branded “a traitor” for  discouraging protests as the country prepares to host the World Cup games in June.

According to published reports, Pele has not been shy in voicing his outrage and disgust with his country’s poor handling of the preparations or accusing his countrymen of stealing the money allocated for the construction projects, resulting in the delays. Many of the stadiums that are slated to host games are still unfinished.  Brazil, which is regarded as the country that prides itself as the epitome of playing with finesse and charm is viewed as a mecca of soccer.

A boy holds up a banner as children sit at what is meant to represent a public school classroom, during a protest against the 2014 World Cup, organised by non-governmental organisation (NGO) Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro May 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

A boy holds up a banner as children sit at what is meant to represent a public school classroom, during a protest against the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on May 14, 2014.

Brazilians have been staging almost daily protests and telling soccer fans to stay home and refrain from going to Brazil to support the World Cup. Reports coming out of Brazil state that the residents are angry that money that should be spent on basic infrastructure and social needs are being used instead to build grand stadiums for the World Cup, while the citizens suffer. This has caused potential tourists and soccer fans to think twice about going to Brazil for the World Cup as they ponder their safety.

Members of Brazil's Homeless Workers' Movement (MTST), who are living at the "People's World Cup Camp" which houses some 2,800 families of the movement in the district of Itaquera near Sao Paulo's World Cup stadium, Arena de Sao Paulo, block a road during a protest against the World Cup in Sao Paulo, May 15, 2014. Brazilians opposed to the World Cup and the public funds spent on the construction of stadiums called for a day of protest around the country.  REUTERS/Nacho Doce (BRAZIL  - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP CIVIL UNREST)

Members of Brazil’s Homeless Workers’ Movement (MTST), who are living at the “People’s World Cup Camp” which houses some 2,800 families of the movement in the district of Itaquera near Sao Paulo’s World Cup stadium, Arena de Sao Paulo, block a road during a protest against the World Cup in Sao Paulo, May 15, 2014. Brazilians opposed to the World Cup and the public funds spent on the construction of stadiums called for a day of protest around the country. -Reuters.

It is impossible for soccer fans to ignore the plight of the Brazilians or dismiss their struggles. After all, every citizen has a right to expect a good quality of life and should expect governmental officials to allocate the nation’s funds appropriately.

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Protests have continued unabated in Brazil as the World Cup nears.

BBC Radio reported earlier this week that workers labeled Pele “a traitor” because he discouraged them from going on strike during the period when the country is preparing to host the World Cup. But long before the workers went on strike soccer lovers expressed concern about Brazil’s slow pace with constructing the sites for the World Cup matches, leading FIFA president Sepp Blatter to share his own concerns.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA President

Sepp Blatter, FIFA President is the face of the World Cup that is rife with controversy.

The turmoil that is roiling Brazil is the last thing that FIFA president Sepp Blatter needs as the days towards the tournament celebrating the beautiful game grow near. At the beginning of the year, Blatter did not mince words in assessing Brazil’s snail-like pace with preparations to host the World Cup.

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Brazilian protestors voice their concerns about misuse of government funds.

“It’s the country which is the furthest behind since I’ve been at FIFA,” he said, while also explaining that Brazil is the only country that had a seven-year period of time to prepare. However, the slow pace of preparation almost pales in significance to the concerns of the Brazilian residents who are exercising their right to protest. Their show of civil actions raise an important question: How would you feel if your basic needs were been ignored at the expense of a game that doesn’t benefit you?

People take part in the "Nao Vai Ter Copa" (You are not going to have Cup) protest along Brigadeiro Luis Antonio Avenue, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on January 25, 2014. Brazil was bracing Saturday for a first wave of nationwide demonstrations against staging the World Cup after activists from the protest group Anonymous went on social media calling for action. AFP PHOTO / Miguel SCHINCARIOL

People take part in the “Nao Vai Ter Copa” (You are not going to have Cup) protest along Brigadeiro Luis Antonio Avenue, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on January 25, 2014.

From all indications, the unrest and controversy that have engulfed Brazil’s preparations to host the World Cup have cast a pall over the games. This could ultimately dim the enthusiasm of soccer lovers, causing them to think twice about making the trek to Brazil, the heart of soccer, and opt instead to watch the games from the safety of their living rooms or sports bars. It would be hard to blame them, because safety comes first.  –OnPointPress.net.