World Cup 2014 – The Death Toll

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I am well aware that the football fans worldwide only are interested in the results of the several matches and particularly the ones of their own country. But whether they will visit Brazil for the World Cup or follow the progress on TV, they undoubtedly and unavoidably will be confronted with the people who suffer under the consequences of this despicable event. Nobody in Brazil has, either don’t I, a problem with the World Cup ansich, but like many others I’m disgusted by the dictatorial way the preparations are executed with absolute and pure contempt by the authorities (FIFA, as well as the local and federal government) for the people, who at the final end pay the much-inflated bill, thanks to corruption and stupidity.

140361-Cosme Rímoli02 W320 100dpiAnd it isn’t only the money. The lives of the construction workers were at stake as well and no authority cared a bit. On his blog on Esportes r7, Cosme Rímoli wrote a to-the-point article, which I freely translate and interpret here. It’s not a story about what a big party the World Cup will be, but if you care a bit outside the stupidity, that is the football idiocy, it’s worth a read.

The 2014 World Cup exterminated an unforgettable group of construction workers.
José Antônio, Raimundo, Fábio Luiz, Ronaldo, Marcleudo, José Antônio, Antônio José and Fábio.

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Construction workers who died so that the stadiums could be ready. Eight Brazilians whose death could be foreseen in 2007. When Brazil heard that it would host the 2014 World Cup. When Brazil wept with joy, that it would host the World Cup.

A victory for Lula, for Ricardo Teixeira (President of the Brazilian Football Federation) and of course for Sepp Blatter.

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The English press was to the point, stating that the FIFA had chosen Brazil for one reason only. The same that made her opt for South Africa, Russia and Qatar.

“Weak governments which submit to all that the FIFA want. Countries without a forceful international press corps. Countries where civil rights are not respected, especially of the poor. Countries where there would be no interference of society”.

This analysis is from the Scot Andrew Jennings, an investigative reporter who wrote books about this subject. Among them: “FOUL! The Secret World of FIFA”.

Required reading for those, who want to understand what happens in Brazil.

With the recent deathly accident of Hamilton Fábio da Cruz, 23, several statistics have emerged. The most important one that here in Brazil already died four times more workers than in Africa.

Is this a coincidence? The Will of Allah or God, as suggested by Sepp Blatter?


A crucial point has to be analysed. And that one goes back to 2007.

When this country was chosen to host the World Cup, the first requirement of the Brazilian government was to advice Blatter, that:

“The Brazilians demanded 12 host-cities, 12 new stadiums.

For us (the FIFA), eight sufficed.

But we were told that it required a political setting. We (the FIFA) agreed.

We warned them that our schedule needed to be respected”.

These were the words of Blatter addressed to Lula and Ricardo Teixeira.

Never a country had built 12 stadiums for the World Cup.

Never ever.

Here comes the assailable point, the accomplice to the death toll.

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The Brazilian government did not create a body to control the construction of the stadiums.

In South Africa there was a department that accompanied the construction works. Negotiations for the release of public money were coordinated. So the rhythm was in step, the difficulties all the same. As was completion of the works.

In Brazil, no.

Lula gave autonomy to the states. Each took care of its own arena. As did the three football clubs Atlético Paranaense, Inter and Corinthians. Or in other words, from that decision sprang the chaos.
Everything was disconnected, decentralised.

That stimulated the numerous delays, the broken promises in relation to the construction works around the stadiums. The criminal jump in the prices for the arenas.

In 2010 it was reported that they would cost BRL 2.6 billion (USD 1.2 billion).

Except that now they cost more than three times the expected. They hit BRL 10 billion (USD 4.42 billion).

A study by the respected consultancy company KPMG was revealing. It showed the cost of each stadium seat built in the world.

The Danish accountancy company calculated that Brazil will have the most expensive collection of football arenas on the planet.
“When a country wants to get a Cup, it is normal it wants to show beautiful stadiums. But nothing explains the extremely high prices in Brazil and why they are so much higher than in Germany and South Africa”.

This shameful analysis is from Jens Alm. He was responsible for this worldwide released survey.

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The delays are said to be responsible for the enhancement. The country had seven years to build its stadiums. However negotiations took place in earnest only in the last four. It looks as if many people were idly sitting back on purpose.

With this delay, the number of bids, that should have been received, fell. There was no bargaining. You just bought the most expensive. Mainly because over 70% that went into the World Cup was public money.

That is contrary to what Ricardo Teixeira had promised. He swore that only private capital would bank the World Cup. Lula also said that the involvement of public funds will not happen.
But the rain of public money just is too enticing.

That is where the life of the construction workers began to take risks. Time passed and FIFA’s time schedule had been completely disrespected.

Last Saturday March 1, the secretary-general of the FIFA, Jérôme Valcke, stated that the delay in finishing the Brazilian stadiums for the World Cup this year is a big challenge for the FIFA - Photo: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Last Saturday March 1, the secretary-general of the FIFA, Jérôme Valcke, stated that the delay in finishing the Brazilian stadiums for the World Cup this year is a big challenge for the FIFA – Photo: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

The secretary-general of the FIFA, Jerome Valcke, was not forgivingly. He said that what Brazil needed was “a kick in the ass”.

Hurting the nationalistic feelings of some. But others kept silent, they knew he was right, as the delays were not a “small affair”.
2014 began with no less than six stadiums still unfinished. An embarrassment.

This irresponsibility fell on the backs of the construction workers. They had to eliminate this criminal delay. How?

Working in three shifts, morning, afternoon and evening. That were 24 hours of uninterrupted work. And of course, several allegations of abuse on the most humble.
Overtime imposed. Spoiled food, lack of bathrooms, of drinking water.

But each individual state stifled their complaints. Without a central body as controller, the outcries were muffled. Silenced with threats and dismissals.
And the deadly accidents, by coincidence, were happening.

No surprise there.

The number of labourers killed during construction works in this country is alarming. Just in São Paulo in 2013, 21 people lost their lives. While 6,178 people were injured, many gravely.

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Saddled up with loss of eye-sight, amputations … And that only are the registered ones, many are not registered. Brazil as a whole lacks reliable figures.
And legislation in construction is a travesty. In developed countries like the United States it’s not. There several accidents have led to civil processes involving millions of dollars.

Not here in Brazil. In Brazil compensation is minimal. If anything, the company pays the funeral, gives a pittance to the family. And goodbye …

The situation fits what Jennings wrote: “Civil rights are not respected. Certainly not for the poor”.

Worse is that the blame for the deaths are squarely put upon the construction workers.

The Secretary responsible for the World Cup in Manaus, Michel Capobiango, did not go for less. Marcleudo de Mello dropped from a height of 35 metres. Raimundo Nonato from five metres. Both died.
“Construction workers sometimes forgo safety equipment out of laziness then they get careless”.

The same explanation was applied to the recent death of Fabio in the Itaquerão stadium.
“It was the victim’s own negligence”, said police commissioner Rafael Pavarina.

As if in Brazil only suicidal labourers are working.

Stadium Itaquerão/São Paulo - November 27, 2013: A crane fell on its side and destroyed a part of the stadium. Two construction workers died

Stadium Itaquerão/São Paulo – November 27, 2013: A crane fell on its side and destroyed a part of the stadium. Two construction workers died

The overseers are stone-blind. And they let construction workers walk a tightrope.

It’s far too easy to blame the workers, who can’t defend themselves, as they are dead. Stamping the coffins with “recklessness” and turn your back. In this way Brazil will put the crosses in the arenas of the World Cup.

President Dilma Roesseff and Minister of Sports Aldo Rebelo already have messages of condolence ready. They only have to change the name of the deceased construction worker. That way it is more practical.

José Antônio Rodrigues died in the Mané Garrincha stadium.

Raimundo Nonato Lima Costa, Marcleudo de Melo Ferreira, José Antônio Nascimento Souza, and Antônio José Pita Martins died in the Amazonia Arena.

The Itaquerão stadium marks three dead. Fábio Luiz Pereira, Ronaldo Oliveira dos Santos and Fabio Hamilton da Cruz .

But to make it crystal clear. The death of these workers could be foreseen in 2007. When Brazil won the right to host the World Cup and the people involved criminally crossed their arms and sat idly back for three years.

Eight Brazilians paid with their lives for this “Copa das Copas”. A title Dilma Rousseff likes to use. It more sounds and feels as the infamous characterisation of the Mafia.

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It’s too early to close the gates of the cemeteries. The construction works of the most expensive World Cup in history are not over yet …