Can Rio Be Ready For The World Cup?

By: Elaine Quijano
By: Elaine Quijano
Next month, more than three and a half million soccer fans are expected to head to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the World Cup.

MGN Online

Next month, more than three and a half million soccer fans are expected to head to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the World Cup.

But there are some serious questions about whether Rio is ready to play host. And the World Cup is just a dry run for the Summer Olympics two years from now.

Protests have erupted in Brazil in recent weeks over the high cost of hosting the soccer tournament.

Brazil is reportedly spending $11 billion, more than double what South Africa spent and five times more than Germany.

Protests are just one of several problems plaguing the Brazilian government ahead of the World Cup. Several of the 12 stadiums being built are not finished. Major infrastructure updates have either been postponed or canceled.

And Brazil is also preparing to host the Olympics.

Olympic sailors training in Rio have already complained about pollution. A trash-filled canal feeds into a bay where the sailing and windsurfing events will take place. Last month, a top Olympic official called Brazil's preparations the "worst" he'd ever experienced.

Professor Lee Igel studies the role of sports in society at New York University.

"If there are issues in Brazil around security, transportation, any of these sorts of things that make the World Cup not what it should be, it's going to have an effect on the Olympic Games in 2016," Igel said.

Which is why Brazil is working frantically to make the World Cup a success.

With fans coming from around the world, officials plan to deploy 100,000 law enforcement and security personnel during the tournament.

Liliana Ayalde is the U.S. ambassador to Brazil.

"Any major event like World Cup has its challenges," Ayalde said, when asked whether Brazil was ready. "I think similar issues have been raised in other major events. We have been following it, and I think we feel that they are fully committed to having a successful game."

When the opening match takes place on June 12, many there hope to keep the focus on the field, not on issues off of it.

Posted by: Lindsay Sax


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