Putting on a major sporting event, like the olympics or world cup is no small matter. Countries are given limited (yes I realized that this is relative) amount of time to prepare for these massive events, and these events often come with high expectations in terms of facilities and infrastructure required to put on the event. Now places like London and Beijing have had their own troubles managing the task of accommodating for Olympic visits to their respective towns. That is not to say either has failed to put on a magnificent showing, but many of the venues for the Beijing Olympics now sit empty... a shell of their former selves. Countries like Greece (Olympics), South Africa and now Brazil (World cups) face a completely different set of problems. While the United Kingdom and China are relative economic powers, with strong infrastructure, and in the United Kingdom's case some facilities already in place. South Africa, Greece, and Brazil all have/had more work to do. Brazil's economy has been growing steadily since the mid 90's and is considered to be in the top 10 (or so) in the world right now and as a result has seen a growing middle class. Insert the World Cup. For a country to host the World Cup it must have a minimum of 10 stadiums that are up to certain specifications to be a host country. And while Brazil is in strong support of its football heritage, many stadiums needed to be brought up to par to accommodate the 32 nation tournament. Likewise, there are may expectations about the roads, and transit due to the high volume of travelers the competition brings with it. Along the same lines, there are expectations about the security of those travelers when they are on your countries soil, which brings me in a very round about way to the problems facing Brazil for the World Cup just a year away. FIFA does not bankroll your expenses to host the world cup.
To those questions I have but one answer... only time will tell. If FIFA were forced to move the World Cup to a new destination (highly unlikely, but not impossible) their options would be limited. Like I said before, they would need a country not only capable of hosting the soccer (with several large venues needed to accomodate all the travelers), they would need the infrastructure and housing to put them all up. Luckily for FIFA, if push were to come to shove, there are countries who could get the job done. Germany would be one option as they hosted the 2006 world cup and likely still have many of the required needs filled. The U.K. (read England) also could likely handle the event if needed having hosted the Olympics recently and having several large soccer stadiums around the country. As a Brazilian reporter stated to Sports Illustrated recently, the USA should probably start secretly thinking about hosting. The USA might make the most sense if it came to it. With all of the football stadiums in place across the country, and with many of them used to accommodating large crowds for Superbowls or other major sporting events, the USA could make it work. It might not be the prettiest world cup that has ever been hosted, but the US could get the job done. Just to say this again, I don't think it will come to this, but at the end of the day, and judging by the protests in Brazil a little insurance might not hurt, it never hurts to start thinking about a plan B.
Thanks for reading,
-T.O. signing out.
A protester was confirmed dead today in Brazil as Police clashed with protesters. 20 other protesters were injured and 30 were arrested in the clash.