BELO HORIZONTE: The reporting of a second death on the streets of Brazil will surely force the world’s sports federations to look more carefully at internal tides within bidding cities and countries writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
FIFA’s insistence, in the wake of local media speculation, that the Confederations Cup would not be cancelled was not a surprise. The significance of the statement was that it even had to be made.
That represented the level of national and international concern in response to reports and pictures broadcast around the world.
A teenager was killed in Ribeirao Preto, 200 miles from Sao Paulo, after a car hit a crowd of demonstrators then a woman died from tear gas inhalation after being caught up in a protest in Belem.
Neither city is hosting matches in the Confederations Cup or World Cup but the events have brought an international spotlight on to Brazil.
President Dilma Rousseff summoned an emergency meeting of senior ministers to plan a response. Rousseff’s attempt earlier this seek to symathise with the causes of the protesters had clearly fallen on deaf ears.
The warm-up event for next year’s World Cup finals is almost at the halfway stage with Brazil, Italy and Spain all qualified for the semi-finals.
But every day brings hundreds of thousands more protesters on to the streets with the exacerbating confusion of an increasing number of issues.
Latest estimates suggest that a movement which began with a problem over bus fares has escalated to inflame more than one million people in more than 100 cities across the country.
Brazil’s most high-profile journalist, Juca Kfouri, was the man who first suggested that organisers were considering abandoning the tournament for fear of security of players, staff, officials and fans.
A FIFA spokesman denied that, saying: “Neither FIFA nor the local organising committee has ever discussed the possibility of cancelling the tournament. There are currently no plans to discuss it. These reports are pure speculation.”
The Italian federation has also refuted reports that it was coming under pressure from relatives and friends of the players back home to bring the squad back to Europe this weekend.
Their own spokesman said: “We are all upset about what is happening here in Brazil but our security is guaranteed with great professionalism and we are not worried.”
# # # #