Unscheduled (in the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014)

In the frame of the Moabiter Mix / Fußballaballa.

CONCEPT Samuel Kalika and Claire Meguerditchian TEXT/READING Samuel Kalika CHOREOGRAPHY/DANCE Claire Meguerditchian, Beatrice Bresolin, Arianna Rodeghiero PHOTODOCUMENTATION Kuc Miodrag

The project was performed during the games Brazil-Chile and Brazil-Columbia, during the half-time of each game.
As soon as the refery whistle the half-time, a loud rhytmic music and three beautiful pom-pom girls come to the stage, performing a festive and repetitive choregraphy. After 40 seconds, the music stops. The dancers continue their performance, as the projections, shows advertisements, replays and the newscast in the silence. The reader starts to read a text explaining what has been happening in Brazil besides the organisation of the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

"We heard a little bit everything and nothing about this world cup, and that's the reason why we'll try here to clarify some things that can be important to understand what is actually happening in Brazil right now.

As you might all know, Brazil is shaked by important protests since June 2013, when the Confederation Cup started.
Like in the recent cases of Turkey, with the Gezi Park, in Tunes, with the self-immolation of Mohamed Buazizi, or Chili, when the university cost raises were announced, the Brazilian protests started with a localised occurrence that served as a trigger, a catalyser, for wider reasons of unrest to be expressed.

In this case, it's the raise of price of the public transport ticket in Sao Paulo that sparked off the crisis we contemplate now. The quality of the public transport in Brazil is claimed to be horrific, but the prices are equivalent to what we pay in France or Germany. This 10% raise was difficult to accept considering the 8 billion euro public expenses related to the FIFA World Cup 2014. The problem, as well, is that once you said that, you open a Box of Pandora.

People from the left and the right part of the political landscape basically find themselves together against the endemic corruption and waste of money, as they are asking for more investments in education and health.

Of course, Lula has done a lot for the poorest in the early 2000, getting 40 million people out of the misery, facilitating them access to the basic social services. This was observed by some specialist as the development of a new middle class, the class C. For many people like Jessé Souza, the reading of this social class as a middle class is a distortion. The access to part of the consumer's market doesn't grant access to the cultural and technical capital that characterise the middle class. What does this, is equal rights to education, housing, working opportunities, but this takes time.

There are still seven hundred thousands (700 000) housing units missing according to the municipality of Sao Paulo, only in this city.
A month ago, a thousand of homeless workers (affiliated to the MTST movement) found themselves fighting with the police forces after the announcement of the delay of the urbanistic plan, supposed to regulate the extension of the city.

In the same time, the most fragiles are exposed to a politic of forced evictions that still concerns 40 000 people only in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Of course the destruction is sometime necessary, but it seems that the FIFA World Cup serves as an excuse for social cleaning and displace poor people living in Favelas, to leave space for high standing real estate projects. According to Amnesty International, 100 000 people were evicted in Rio since 2009.

Also, the Brazilian law, forces the state to offer to the evicted people from a city ground (which is the case of most favelas) a housing alternative within 7km of the original house. In most cases, it seems that many people are relocated, when they are relocated, more than 70km further.

Then, some factors have increased the mobilisation and the general unrest, like the extreme police violence that faces the protesters. (Amnesty International)

Now, if the protests are less visible, it's partly because the competition did captivate a lot of attention, and also because the police starts with tear gas before the protests even start. And if they can start, then they shoot with rubber bullets, like in the Fan Fest at the CopaCabana beach. A lot of people, including journalists, came back seriously injured from such protests.

On the other side, the FIFA World Cup put the bar high in terms of absurdities. How not to mention the luxurious Manaus stadium, built in a city that doesn't need it, in the middle of the tropical jungle, for only 4 games of World Cup.
Or the so-called FIFA law, designed and imposed to secure the income of the FIFA and its sponsors.
Or the declarations of the FIFA executives. I'll just quote this one, by Jérôme Valcke, general secretary of this non-profit association:
“I'm going to say something crazy, but a lower level of democracy is sometime preferable to organise a World Cup”, he said, “When we have a strong man at the head of a state, that can decide, as will maybe be able to do Putine in 2018, it's easier for us, organisers, than with a country like Germany, where you need to negotiate at various levels.”
We can only empathise with his concerns.

To understand better the concerns of the protesters regarding the FIFA World Cup 2014, we shall look at the balance of the last world cup in south Africa.

A swiss organisation, the OSEO, published a very interesting report about it.
The World Cup did increased the tourism a 25% this year, and the country benefited of new public infrastructures for transport and energy.

The FIFA itself, registered a gain of 2.2 billions euro, twice more than at the previous World Cup in Germany. To protect its profits and the one of its sponsors, they, like in Brazil, stated that no itinerant merchants would be authorised in a km perimeter around the stadiums.

Also, they obtained that the institutions and partners were exempted of taxes on their incomes, claiming that they already pay taxes in their respective countries, which is not the case of the Fifa anyway, as it's registered as a non-profit organisation.

About the new infrastructures, like many of them, three of the ten stadium built for the South Africa World Cup 2010 cannot be used because of their maintenance costs. Apparently, the local football and cricket associations warned of this risk before the project started.

Finally, according to the U.N., about 20 000 people were evicted from their home to leave place to the new stadiums.

If a lot of jobs were created during the building of these stadiums, all of them now disappeared. To the OSEO, the 3.5 billion euro public money invested to the World Cup 2010 could have been spent in a smarter way, considering that 40% of the population is jobless, that 8.4 million people leave in slums, and that there is necessity of housing for at least 12 million people.

The initial projections were that South Africa would benefit from a global gain of half a billion euro (526 Million euro). The final maths for the country is evaluated to be a loss of 2.1 billion euro.

Considering the repetition of patterns in the Brasilian World Cup, and the 8 billion euro of public money invested, instead of the 3 billion initially planned, we understand better part of the unrest in Brazil and the worries concerning fifa's politics.

Now, we can welcome two facts:

  1. first that the FIFA is finally suffering from some social pressure, with constant protests and critics about their politics. Lord David Triesman, former chief of the english football association, publicly compares the FIFA to a Mafia, and it's president Joseph Blatter to Don Corleone, when commenting the corruption case around the 20-22 Qatar Fifa world cup, where he was a privileged witness.
    On the same line, Sony, Adidas and Visa, three major World Cup sponsors, are pressuring the FIFA to clarify the situation with the Qatar World Cup 2020-22.
  2. And finally, we have to stress that programming a World Cup in a country does put a light on its most critical issues. In this sense, we shall maybe suggest some replacements for the 2020-22 World Cup, like Syria, Afghanistan, or North Korea, whose people would consequently benefit of a wonderful tribune."