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June 26, 2014

The World Cup 2014 in Brazil: better organised than the Olympics in London 2012?

Yesterday, I was quoted in a number of French newspapers as saying that the World Cup 2014 has been, so far, better organised than the London Olympics 2012. It is my duty to report that this does not in any way whatsoever misrepresent my views.
I stand by what I said.

There have been months, if not years, of negative reports on the 2014 World Cup. Before the event started, comments from all quarters (Western media, FIFA, patrons and waiters at the pub alike) promised absolute doom and gloom in Brazil. The stadia would not be ready in time, spectators would be prevented from travelling to the venues because the infrastructures would not be ready in time or because Brazilians would be protesting to no end. Most commentators were very short of saying ‘those lazy, unpatriotic and unreliable Brazilians’ – when they did not actually say it…

Unless I am mistaken, so far none of this has actually happened. All the stadia are ready and used for the Cup. Brazilians are exercising their democratic right to protest and there are isolated reports of Pelé or other football celebrities not making it to the venue. Yet, stadia are not only ready. They are full at every game! Even when South Korea is playing Algeria, in a game where the sporting stakes are not high.

Compare this with the London Olympics which were marred by a number of controversies:

We could add to the list of ‘things that went pearshaped at London 2012’: for example, the gatecrasher at the parade of nations which shocked many people in India, LOCOG displaying a South-Korean flag instead of North-Korea (logically the North-Korean team refused to warm up and play until the right flag was displayed, prompting the game to be very much delayed…) but the point is not to criticise otherwise relatively well organised Olympics. I don’t want to be unfair with the Brits either as there are often controversies surrounding the organisation of a mega event. Let’s just recall that, to my knowledge, the only international sporting event that had to change country because a stadium was not built in time, is the 2007 Athletics World Championship, planned in Wembley, London and which finally happened in Oslo. Once more, let’s be fair with Britain: construction delays are common in every country, and construction budgets almost invariably go overboard.

The point, instead, is to show the gap between reality and perception. Whenever an event is organised in a Southern country, the discourse, and the memory, is of potential fiascos, that have usually not materialised. Whenever an event is organised in a Northern country, the discourse, and the memory, is of success, even when there were actual fiascos.

Following Edward Said, we can call this ‘orientalisation’, and say that in a world where the East/West divide was replaced in the 1990s by a North-South divide,  this is the result of a distorted view that the Western/Northern media have of the Orient/South.

Let’s say things much more clearly: this is a xenophobic, or even racist, discourse.

David Ranc

Post by Dàvid RANC in the category : Posts - 36 Comments"

36 comments sur “The World Cup 2014 in Brazil: better organised than the Olympics in London 2012?”


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  2. Jack

    2018-06-25 11:34:49

    That is so valid! Regardless I recall that London had the mobs multi-year before the Olympics, however, nobody was anticipating "bedlam" in the amusements. Yet, about Brazil, I think I've perused 100 notes cautioning individuals about the catastrophe almost there, dissents, police killing everyone, stadiums not prepared in time... furthermore, think about what: nothing of these has happened!

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  5. Nick

    2014-09-04 15:09:50

    If the discourse is North equals success and South equals fiasco how do you account for the media's negative attitude towards the Olympic Games held in Atlanta and Athens, both in the northern hemisphere - in western countries - and both of which faced huge criticism. Athens, in particular, was subjected to just as much vilification as Brazil in the run-up to the event? Facts, they're so annoying aren't they!

  6. Nick

    2014-09-04 14:47:46

    "Many venues were nearly empty for many of the early Olympic events" at London 2012. You can't beat a blatant lie to make your argument. In fact pretty much the only empty seats were those set aside for the so-called "olympic family" at the behest of the IOC. It's also worth remembering that London was hosting 26 contemporaneous world championships compared with just the one in Brazil. P.S. It would be helpful if you could give examples of the sports which were being played in front of near empty venues as I recorded most of the coverage of the games and would welcome the opportunity to expose more fully just how discreditable your claims are.

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  9. midelvirson oliveira

    2014-07-03 18:02:55

    Usually we admire but don’t aplaude good eyes. However good views and correct points deserve recognition with all words in all the world. Thanks and congratulations, David RANC (The FREE project website.)

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  11. Lidice

    2014-07-03 02:18:00

    I couldn't agree more, the saddest thing is that this racist discourse is heard even from Brazilian midia that should know better.

  12. Fernando Cezar

    2014-07-03 01:39:12

    Dear Mr. Dàvid Ranc Please, tell me: are yu really talking Brazilian World Cup???? Do you how many people have died directly or indirectly due to this circus? Where did you get your notes??? Thousands of people have been expelled from their homes and now they have no houses! Hundreds of protesters have been illegally arrested and many still in jail! There were rallys everyday AND YOU DIDn'T SEE ANYTHING WRONG???? There were gun shots every night in Rio's favelas! Did you now the hospitals had a qustionaire to attend people? Foreigns were priority, then FIFA's stuff, next come organization/stadia stuff and at last, manifesters... Really nice to see that you enjoyed the show! We'll be paying for this circus for the next decades!!! Btw: how did you like our white elite in the stadia, or you think black people there were brazilians?????? Panis et circense: rich ones got both and we, the TRUE BRAZILIAN PEOPLE will pay the price!

  13. César Locatelli

    2014-07-02 23:32:39

    Dear David, I would be very glad if you allow me to translate your article to Portuguese. As a soccer fan and Brazilian I guess it would be nice service to the sport and to the truth. Warm regards, César

  14. André Clezar

    2014-07-02 22:55:29

    I am Brazilian and I very much appreciated this line of scientific research. I congratulate those responsible for rare initiative to defend the truth between "rich" and "poor" in the world. The initial results of this research show that only secular observation already shows. I totally agree!

  15. Mysterious

    2014-07-02 21:47:57

    yeah...good apart from the eight workers that died during construction of the 12 stadiums. Oh, and that one stadium doesn't have a roof that it is supposed to (not the end of the world but that's an awful long way from what was planned). And the national anthems failing to play during the France vs Honduras game. And even though they haven't fallen over there's absolutely no way the temporary stair case at the Maracana was anywhere near what most authorities would call safe. For what it's worth - the tournament has been brilliant. But probably down to the football rather than the organisation. It seems to have gone ok so far but clearly at the expense of an awful lot of upset and eight people's lives. Finally - a direct comparison is pretty pointless. I am a football fan and love the World Cup. But the Olympics is a way way bigger event to organise in terms of the number of venues, fixtures and competitors.

  16. Maria Amelia Silva Silveira

    2014-07-02 18:33:41

    Leonardo, com certeza absoluta você faz parte desse dileto grupo das oligarquias coniventes com as mídias poderosas.Portanto não consegue aquilatar a importância que tem o futebol para o povo brasileiro. Vocês devem gostar mais dos esportes americanos ou europeus,porque são mais "chiques", dão mais "status". Não me venha falar em gastos exorbitantes, porque tudo está sendo contabilizado e se houver superfaturamentos com certeza será apurado, porque, desde assumiu o governo,o PT criou mecanismos de transparência ao alcance de todos, diferentemente dos governos, como o de FHC,cujo Procurador, o tal de Geraldo Brindeiro, engavetou e/ou arquivou mais de 600 processos criminais com provas cabais contra o próprio FHC e seus comparsas. Aliás, onde estas oligarquias governam, não existe corrupção, porque o dinheiro delas e seu poderoso tráfico de influênci resolvem tudo. Os escândalos em MG, há 12 anos, são gritantes para quem acompanhou e acompanha de perto através da TV Assembléia, dos vídeos postados no Youtube,gravados ao vivo das sessões lá realizadas ou do site "Minas Sem Censura".Desculpe-me tocar em política. É que os demotucanos, através das mídias falaciosas, pensaram em usar o fracasso total da Copa para derrubar a Dilma. Prestaram-se ao sórdido papel de aves agourentas,mas fracassaram.Em momento algum, como é do feitio deles, pensam na maioria do povo.Claro? Eles são antidemocratas!!Aliás,estão sempre dando tiro no próprio pé.Inventam mentiras, que têm pernas curtas, são desmascarados e, com isso,eleitores honestos, conscientes, politizados,questionadores que amam de fato o Brasil, e nunca tiveram vergonha de ser brasileiros, absorvendo plenamente seus costumes, sua cultura e sua magnífica Natureza, acabam optando por quem respeita e governa para o povo, com o povo e pelo povo!Uma pena que as mídias monopolizadoras não tenham compromisso com a verdade e cometem o terrível crime de lavagem cerebral dos incautos!!

  17. Marcela

    2014-07-02 17:47:49

    Thanks for this enlightening article.

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  19. Maria Amelia Silva Silveira

    2014-07-02 17:33:23

    Muitíssimo obrigada David Ranc, pela coragem de falar a verdade. Infelizmente, aqui no Brasil, as oligarquias antidemocráticas comandam as principais mídias, como, TVs. Globo, Band, SBT, os jornais O Estadão, Folha de São Paulo, O Globo e as revistas Veja, Isto É, etc. Dia e noite fizeram campanha de mau agouro e pessimismo contra a realização da Copa do Mundo. Mas há muito tempo, desde que o PT assumiu o govern,omitem ou distorcem a verdade e só publicam coisas negativas, sensacionalistas, além de fomentar o ódio dos telespectadores e leitores ao PT e seus seguidores.O que é pior, não dão tempo nem espaço em suas mídias monopolizadoras para o governo se defender, mostrando os fatos.E ainda dizem que nós, os petistas, é que somos ditadores, corruptos, antidemocráticos e mentirosos.Desculpe o desabafo. Você me inspirou confiança pelo seu compromisso com a verdade. Confesso-lhe que se esses neofacistas conseguirem voltar ao poder, o povo brasileiro, em sua maioria, estará perdido.O candidato à Presidência do Brasil, Aécio Neves, governou meu Estado e consegiu, junto com seu sucessor ao governo, "quebrar" e endividar Minas Gerais até o "pescoço"! E eles escondem tudo de errado que fazem, pois são riquíssimos e têm um forte poder de tráfico de influência.Contamos com mídias estrangeiras, transparentes e autênticas,para falarem e mostrarem a verdade. Um abraço da Maria Amélia Silva Silveira.

  20. antonio jose florencio souza

    2014-07-02 13:47:12

    never more believe in brazilians journalista they are lying about brasil because they hate brazilian people

  21. Stella

    2014-07-02 05:33:04

    I am Brazilian. Thanks to point out the xenophobic view some people have about Brazil and other countries as weel. Most of the brazilian's people is very happy that so many foreigners are pleased to be here.

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  23. Stela Murta

    2014-07-02 01:21:38

    Well done, pins down an undisguided prejudice of Britain concerning Brazilian organizational skills...not to mention others!!!

  24. Israel

    2014-07-02 00:02:12

    I share the view point: "Let’s say things much more clearly: this is a xenophobic, or even racist, discourse".

  25. Gil paul

    2014-07-01 22:20:05

    David, You say the comments are xenophobic and even driscrimate. Your comments looks the same... It is just in a opposite direction. You mentioned only bla bla bla and where are the facts? Need numbers, data, etc. are you in Brazil?

  26. John

    2014-07-01 21:47:37

    Congratulations on your extremely objective article regarding the preparations for World Cup 2014. As an expat living in Brazil for the past 30 years the amount of rubbish I read pratically every day from the Intrnational press was enough to make ones hair stand on end. We all know that Brazil like so many other countries in the southern hemisphere has it's problems,but over the last few days have shown the rest of the World they could do it and have!!! Brazilians unlike so many Europeans enjoy life and have shown the rest of the World what hospitality is about. Warm,welcoming,festive and always ready to help they really have made this football event unforgettable. I remember during the London Olympics how people we're actually speaking to each other on the tube - that only lasted a month,they're now back to 'let me hide my face behind a newspaper or play with my i-phone! PARABÉNS David,

  27. Mike Hughson

    2014-07-01 21:20:44

    ...nope. Let me help you close that gap of which you speak. I lived in London during the Olympics and I have been living in Rio for a year now. I attended events at the London Olympics and have been to all 5 football matches in Rio so far. London was well organised despite the doom and gloom forecast (I thought it would be awful) and is generally considered a success even with the fiascos you pointed out – which everyone is aware and have not forgotten. I am also pleasantly surprised by the success of the tournament here… However, as was predicted this success is at the cost of the majority of the population. The reason each match runs so smoothly is because the host city focuses all resources on ensuring they do… People (office workers and the like) are given the day off on a match day in the respective city to reduce congestion and roads surrounding the stadiums are closed (admittedly also for security). We also get half-days/days off when Brazil play… At first having so much time off is amazing… but you see nothing works properly. I work out of town and don’t have a car. On match days/when Brazil play the buses don’t bother coming round = 3 hours to get home, normally 40 mins. Banks and post offices are mostly closed or working reduced hours. This is Brazil and they kinda suck anyway through bureaucracy and inefficiency, but at the moment when they are open they are so busy it’s almost impossible to get anything and you waste another. I am facing late payment fines on my bills because I cannot physically pay bills. The problems are being compounded. It is a fantastic atmosphere here at the moment and I’m enjoying being part of it, just as I was in London… But Brazil’s inherent infrastructure and bureaucracy deficiencies have, on occasion, been magnified to the point of madness by FIFA’s event. You do have a point, but what I have said is also a reality – those rose-tinted glasses you allude to, when referring to Northern Hemisphere commentary on their events, turn into rose-tinted binoculars when viewing this tournament from afar.

  28. Susana Batimarchi

    2014-07-01 16:02:59

    I Can´t agreed more with you. Exactly resquicius of an old Era. Yes we barzzilian have a lots of problems but is going all well until now. Susana Batimarchi - Journalist and resident at São Paulo/ Brazil

  29. Marcelo Mayer

    2014-07-01 15:31:10

    I am Brazilian, and I live in Miami, a very international city. From my point of view, I have the feeling that Brasil spent billions and billions of dollars to put on a great party, and we are receiving every country with an smile and open arms and all I can see from here is the international press focusing on the bad side of everything, showing favelas, and bad aspects of everything, almost waiting for something bad to happen just to say "I told you"... Unfortunately they are missing the moment... Wait for your countryman came back home and you will start to hear the true happy stories... I really wish I were there. Congrats David Ranc for your fantastic fair report. you are a true educated journalist.

  30. Lorena

    2014-07-01 14:33:02

    I am Brazilian, and do have my view on how awfully top-down decisions have been made for the event to happen. From people displaced for the infrastructure construction, to street vendors prohibited to selling our most delicious food just to please world giants. But I think that the way international media has been played shows a political struggle in Brazil. Here, the rights of the press are mistaken by the right to say whatever you want without further consequences. The big Brazilian media is reminiscent of a oligarchy that wants to maintain the elite power and used the event to serve their own political agenda. Unfortunately, the "waiters" at the bar, watching these same programs which inspired international media, cannot be critical enough to oppose the patrons that are served by the media. I remember reading something said by a south african (Unfortunately I don't remember where). The guys was saying how funny Brazilian media is. In 2010 world cup the infrastructure was delayed to the point they almost needed to pay the fines, and they always advertised it was going according to plan (until of course they could not anymore). Here, things were happening according to plan (that is, when the guy said it - in the first year or so of preparation) and it was advertised otherwise. Brazilian media always overemphasize our problems, fabricating fear and spinning the wheel for big construction companies, right wing conservative parties and the like. Sadly, international media followed suit, just as irresponsibly. I think this is a lesson to be learned.

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  33. Lilian

    2014-07-01 12:49:21

    I´m from Rio de Janeiro and its very good here!!!! World Cup 2014 is the best of the history!

  34. Alex Souza

    2014-07-01 07:02:35

    David, thank you for en lighting the audience with your perception regarding the 2014 WC. Brazil could have done a whole lot better job given the spared time the authorities had (7 years). But reality is that so far is going well and let's hope it will end well as far as organization is concerned. I am Brazilian living in the US and despite all the criticism I heard from colleagues at work because of the stadiums, the games so far went as expected (I have not heard any feedback in the Brazilian press). Once again thank you!!! Cheers, Alex

  35. Ana Cristina Barros

    2014-07-01 04:38:03

    Congratulations for the analysis. Consider adding, eventually for your a next article, how Brazilian stadiums are getting international certificates for sustainable construction, including the 2nd in the world Platinum Leed. Cláudio Langone, from Min of Sports, can help you as a source of data and histories. Thanks, ac

  36. David

    2014-07-01 03:31:40

    That's so true! I still remember that London had the riots a year before the Olympics, but no one was predicting "chaos" in the games. But about Brazil, I think I've read 100 notes warning people about the disaster on the verge, terrible protests, police killing everybody, stadiums not ready in time... and guess what: nothing of these has happened!

  37. Luiz Amaral

    2014-07-01 02:45:03

    See laamarall bloguer from São Paulo City:

  38. Leonardo

    2014-07-01 01:59:55

    You raise some good points, but let me offer you the view from someone who was born and lived his entire life in Rio. 1. Only someone who has no knowledge of how things work here (or one that was actually rooting for it) could imagine we'd see a revival of the violent demonstrations of last year. The movement lost its momentum and would never gain it again once the ball started rolling (literally). 2. Again, only the very naive believed the stadiums would not be ready. This is the way it happens with every public that absolutely has to be ready. There are delays and corruption runs rampant, costs go sky high and when everyone thinks it just won't be ready, the government throws even more money into the mix and "Presto!". 3. As for the tickets fiasco in the olympics, you do realize the the local committee for the world cup does not, in fact, handle ticket sales, right? It's the sole responsibility of FIFA (more or less their only real one). 4. Most of the infrastructure changes they promised are not ready (some won't be ready for the Olympics either), they're just not essential. It's the stuff they promise they'd do to make the world cup sound like a really good deal to the common man (you know, the sort that can't afford ticket prices in the new arenas) that wasn't delivered.

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