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Countdown to World Cup 2014: Is Brazil Really Ready to Go?

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Sun, Samba and silky skills. Those are the images conjured up when thinking of the rich tradition of Brazilian football.

So with the country hosting the World Cup for the second time this year, you’d expect there to be a state of delirium throughout the country’s cities. Unfortunately, there has been another side to the World Cup this year, and preparations have been dogged by complications from all sides.

So the question remains: will Brazil really be ready on time for the 2014 World Cup?

Legal Wranglings

Brazil have won the World Cup 5 times, in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. Four other teams have one more than once.

• Italy won in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006

• West Germany won in 1954, 1974 and 1990

• Argentina won in 1978 and 1986

• Uruguay won the first World Cup in 1930 and also in 1950 in Brazil

• England (1966), France (1998) and Spain (2010) are the other teams to have one a World Cup

One of the biggest questions posed throughout the preparations for the World Cup has been about legality. Primarily one specific law: The World Cup Law.

In June 2013, Brazilian public prosecutor, Roberto Gurgel, filed a complaint to the Brazilian Supreme Court, alleging that parts of the law were unconstitutional.

While there’s no doubt that FIFA’s demands put strain on a country, some of the other sections of this particular law are a bit shady, to say the least. First up, the Brazilian state accepts civil liability for any losses or damages accrued by the tournament. However, the Brazilian constitution says that the state can only take on losses when the event is run by a public entity or providing a public service.

There’s more, though, with payments to former players, tax exemptions for FIFA sponsors and expenses exemptions. All of which add up to a feeling of mistrust amongst the Brazilian population.

More criticism has been laid at the feet of Brazilian gambling laws, too, with most forms of gambling banned outright. With the World Cup one of the major sources of revenue for bookmakers around the world, this is a big problem for the Samba State.

Gambling During the World Cup

Indeed, gambling is a huge problem area. While most forms are completely illegal, including online casinos in Brazil, punters still spend millions of dollars on gambling and betting every year.

Indeed, online gambling sites based in Brazil bring in more than $200 million a year from Brazilians playing illegal. The government has yet to either crack down on this or legalize and tax the practice.

For rich foreigners coming to Brazil, then, this poses something of a problem. One of the world’s biggest sporting events is sure to draw a lot of punters through the door of both land based and mobile betting shops, yet if bettors do not know this, they could find themselves in trouble.

With corruption a big problem in the South American country, there is always a chance that the Brazilian police could take an interest in foreign nationals gambling online. Not because of the gambling, per se, but because of the size of their wallet. As such, any foreigners in Brazil during the World Cup have been urged to be on the lookout.

Expensive stadiums with no use

Yet the one biggest blight to beset the Brazil 2014 World Cup has been the stadiums themselves. One stadium in particular has borne a lot of the criticism.

Brasilia is the capital of the country, although population wise it comes way down in 4th, just more than a 5th of the size of Sao Paolo. It was here that the Brazilian government decided to build one of its most expensive new stadiums.

The stadium has become the 2nd most expensive football stadium, with costs escalating to upwards of $900 million. That’s not all, though, as the majority of that expenditure has apparently gone straight into the pockets of fraudulent billers. Oh yeah, and this is all in a city that plays host to a grand total of 0 major football teams. Talk about a white elephant!

That’s not all, though, as most of the other stadiums have been beset by delays, problems and even deaths.

Half of Brazil’s 12 stadiums missed their deadline, including the venue that will host the opening match, the Arena de Sao Paolo.

In fact, that venue has one of the worst records, as 3 workers have so far died working upon the stadium, one who fell to his death, and two when a crane collapsed on the stadium. They’re not the only deaths, however, with another 3 have lost their lives at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus, one more in the $900 million stadium in Brasilia, and another one in the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba.

Protests at Costs, Infrastructure and Corruption

Meanwhile, the public love of football has taken a distinct second place as mass demonstrations have taken place up and down the country.

Brazilians are unhappy at a number of issues, notably the cost, rises in taxes, the lack of needed infrastructure upgrades and government corruption. There have also been protests against FIFA, with allegations that the football federation has taken the country for a ride.

All of this has contributed to an unsavory atmosphere as Brazil heads into what should have been its showpiece sporting event.

Yet Brazilian success in the tournament could turn that all around. Known for their fickleness, the home support will be key for the 5 time winners, as they bid to win the World Cup on home soil for the first time.

The pre-tournament favorites will surely be the team to bet on, despite the fact online sportsbooks in Brazil remain technically illegal.

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