FIFA World Cup 2014 Controversies

FIFA World Cup 2014 is being touted as the mother of all events. With 32 countries fighting for the top slot in this month-long extravaganza of football hosted by Brazil, all eyes are obviously focused on this international sporting event. And along with interesting stories veering around drool-worthy sporting stars, there are tales of dissent and not so pleasant notes also tumbling out of Brazil...

Financial disaster:

In 2007, when Brazil was awarded the right to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the South American nation was experiencing its best economic period in decades. That year Brazil's economy expanded by 4.5%, thanks to capital flowing into the country from foreign investors. But today, less than two weeks prior to hosting the biggest single-event sporting extravaganza on earth, Brazil is in the midst of chaos that in no way resembles the image of the country that was sold to the world seven years ago. So, what went wrong? The most conservative estimates put at $11.7 billion the total investments by the government on the World Cup, US $4 billion alone on 12 new and refurbished stadiums, more than three times the cost initially projected, largely due to fraud and suspicious ties between politicians and contractors.

Whither facilities:

Some of the facilities may not even be ready for the tournament. A bullet train between Rio and Sao Paulo promised in 2009 to be ready for the World Cup is now projected for 2020. Six of Brazil's 12 stadiums did not meet FIFA's original December 31 deadline. Till mid-May, three stadiums - in Sao Paulo, Cuiaba and Curitiba - were still under construction. The 2014 World Cup begins on June 12 when hosts Brazil take on Croatia in Sao Paulo. Curitiba, the capital of the southern state of Parana, is so behind with its stadium renovations that FIFA could strip it of its host status.

Pitbull - Shakira controversy: 

Last month, Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez released a single entitled, "We Are One (Ole Ola)," produced and recorded as the official song of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But, it is receiving one of the harshest backlash in history. The critics complain that the song is mostly in English and Spanish, leaving only a few seconds at the end for Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte to sing in her native Portuguese. Soon after its release, football-crazy Brazilian fans took to twitter to express their outrage by creating a hashtag called #VoltaWakaWaka, which references Shakira's popular World Cup theme from South Africa 2010 and calls for its return to official song status. Colombian-born Shakira who released her "La La La (Brasil 2014)" recently, has already scored over 21 million views on YouTube.

Negative public opinion: 

Public opinion polls have shown a steady erosion of enthusiasm for the event among Brazilians. In 2008, the year after Brazil was announced as World Cup host, 79% of respondents to a poll supported the event. By April this year, the number was 48%. The same poll this year showed 55% of respondents saying the event will bring more harm than good to Brazilians. "I hope Brazil loses in the first round," Maria de Lourdes, 39, a street vendor who participated in a recent anti-World Cup demonstration, shouted in front of world media recently. "Brazil, with all its problems, Rio with all its problems - many people still die from hunger while others are spending money on these games," she said.

Violent protests: 

Scores of Brazilians have taken to the streets protesting against the tournament, and more specifically the whopping amounts being spent on the stadiums and other infrastructure. The latest protests saw around 500 indigenous leaders, many wearing traditional feather headdresses and carrying bows and arrows, open fire on the police in Brasilia with bows and arrows, impaling one officer's leg. Protests like these may hurt the number of fans that will travel to Brazil for the World Cup. The law and order problem threatened to grow worse last month when thousands of policemen in the country went on a strike in states like Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Pernambuco and Amazonas - which will host World Cup matches - demanding that the country double their wages.