Fewer than half of Brazilians ‘positive’ about World Cup

Fewer than half of Brazilians are positive about the upcoming FIFA World Cup, a new poll by Datafolha published on Monday has shown.

Some 2,091 Brazilians across the country were asked about their expectations towards the tournament which begins on 12 June in São Paulo: only 46% were positive about the event – 13% said ‘excellent’ and 33% responded ‘good’.

Brazil World Cup fans. Photo from travelblog.org

Brazilians are torn over their expectations for this year’s World Cup. Photo from travelblog.org

Thirty percent of those questioned in the survey had no strong feelings either way, and the remaining 24% concluded the World Cup would be ‘bad’ or ‘awful’ – 8% and 16%, respectively.

It allows [us] to say that 30% [of those surveyed] have some reservations over, and 24% totally reject, the hosting of the World Cup in Brazil,” Datafolha Director General Mauro Paulina was quoted by Folha de S.Paulo newspaper as saying.

A breakdown of the survey showed that most positive evaluations of the World Cup came from those who had only basic education and those in the lowest two income bands – the so-called ‘D’ and ‘E’ economic classes.

The results for this latest survey are a far cry from a similar survey in November 2008, in which 79 percent of respondents said they were positive about the World Cup.

The survey also asked whether the respondents were interested in football and the World Cup: 76% said they were interested in football, and 81% said they had an interest in the tournament itself.

Some 82% of people said they planned on watching World Cup fixtures – which increased to nine-in-ten if only male respondents are counted.

Beset by problems

Although the survey clearly shows that Brazilians have an interest in both the sport and the tournament, it does appear to show only lukewarm confidence in the country’s ability to host the event.

This latest survey has highlighted the difficulty that both FIFA and the Brazilian government have faced in garnering support for the event, with a build-up beset by problems: from major delays with stadiums and the very unpopular overall R$33 billion (US$14 billion) price tag to a number of construction site deaths and the downsizing or scrapping of a number of associated infrastructure projects.

13 March 2014 - World Cup Protest in São Paulo, Brazil - Photo by Ben Tavener

Protests against the World Cup, although smaller than in 2013, have continued in São Paulo. Photo by Ben Tavener.

Discontent over the preparation phase of the World Cup led to over a million Brazilians taking to the streets last June, in a show of anger against the government’s – and now, increasingly, FIFA’s – handling of the event.

Indeed, although mass protests against the World Cup have petered out, for now at least, a fourth round of protests against the World Cup – under the banner of “Não Vai Ter Copa” (“There Will Be No World Cup”) – is scheduled for Thursday in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and at least two other major cities in Brazil.

The survey comes as FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke arrives in Rio for a week of meetings concerning the tournament’s final preparations.

Despite the negativity and many concerns by FIFA over the event’s preparations, President Dilma Rousseff has repeatedly promised a “Cup of Cups” and correspondents say that the World Cup will likely ultimately be saved by the country’s residual love for the game.

However, the Olympics, which are due to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, may not fare as easily, as many of the sports are alien and not available to ordinary Brazilians.

Extended version written for Anadolu Agency

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