A Controversial 2014 World Cup

Spencer Serling

The United States and the entire world turned their focus to Sochi, Russia in February for the Winter Olympics. Despite major controversy surrounding Sochi prior to the Olympics, the Games turned out to be successful, with only a few problems surfacing. As we are ready to turn our attention to the World Cup in the month of June, we wonder whether the success and the lack of controversy will be replicated elsewhere.

While the problems in Sochi surrounded human rights, the issues in Rio address a question that many have about the readiness of Brazil to step into a position of world power. Assigned with the task of hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, the Brazilians have done their best to mobilize. But will their best be enough to be put in the spotlight twice in a span of three years?

Recently, the Brazilians finally completed the construction of their $290 million stadium in Manaus. This stadium, which saw its first competition in a regional quarterfinal match this past weekend, cost $70 million more than they originally believed and saw three workers killed during the construction.

The Arena de Amaz??nia is one of six venues that was not fully completed by the end of 2013, a time when F?ed?eration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) required all stadiums to have been completed. To see six out of the 12 venues that were being used incomplete was troubling for FIFA, but they have stuck true to their plan.

With Brazil completing stadiums just three months before the start of the World Cup, several questions are brought up about the planning behind these events meant to unite the world.

A main question that is drawn regarding the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro: While Brazil has consistently insisted that they will be ready to plan and execute such a large-scale event, will they be able to mobilize? Just two short years after the first whistle kicks off the 2014 World Cup, Brazil will again be in the spotlight.

We have seen two outstanding performances of preparation from London and Beijing in the last six years. With Brazil just on the horizon, the question remains whether or not they will be able to live up to the task at hand. Will the International Olympic Committee be able to push the Brazilians to prepare earlier? Or will they fall into the same trap as FIFA, scrambling to complete stadiums?

Once the final whistle blows in the championship matchup in Rio, FIFA will have to look far into the future and take a long look at a controversial decision they have already made. With the 2022 World Cup planned to take place in Qatar – a decision that came with questions – will FIFA revisit their decision-making?

Critics will point to the climatic conditions that players and fans will be forced to sit through. With temperatures that get up to 122 degrees, many wonder whether the plan to convert solar energy to cool fans and players will work.

Additionally, fans will point to the immense budget that will be used to fund the construction of these stadiums. In what is planned to be 60 times as expensive as the budget of South Africa in 2010, Qatar plans on spending $220 billion to build the stadiums.

It will be interesting to see the 2014 World Cup play out and to see the implications that it has on the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2022 World Cup.

Contact Spencer Serling at [email protected].