How Much Will The World Cup Cost Brazil? 2014 FIFA Games Will Be Most Expensive Ever, Says NGO

Brazilian protestors.
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 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo, May 15, 2014. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

The Spanish international development NGO InspirAction has launched a campaign criticizing an exemption from tariffs on importations to Brazil enjoyed by businesses involved in World Cup preparations, saying that while the 2014 games in Rio will end up costing over $13.7 billion – more than the 2006 and 2010 games combined – the exemption will mean the Brazilian public won’t see a windfall from related commerce.   As part of the campaign, the NGO is rounding up signatures for a petition asking FIFA president Joseph Blatter not to push for the tariff-free status in future World Cups. 

Animal Politico notes that the exemption, passed into law by the Brazilian government in 2010, is estimated to keep anywhere from $245 million to $530 million of importation duties in the pockets of businesses.  Meanwhile, InspirAction says, most of the 37 million Brazilians who live in poverty will see little revenue from the flood of international visitors.  Last week, credit-rating agency Moody’s said the lift to the economy would be “short-lived”, estimating it to be about 0.4 percent of GDP, or about $11.1 billion. 

Many Brazilians express anger over what they see as their government’s misplaced priorities, with thousands of protestors blocking streets and shouting anti-World Cup slogans in Sao Paolo last week.  Several people have been killed by security forces in recent months as federal and local police and the military continue to carry out operations in Rio’s favelas, where about 1.4 million of the city’s residents live – and where visitors are expected to descend for the World Cup, as hotel rooms in well-heeled districts have long since been snapped up.

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David Iaconangelo is a Brooklyn-based writer and translator.  Formerly editor of ZafraLit, a blog of new short fiction from Cuba.  He has lived in and reported from various Latin American countries.