Brazil 'ready' for football World Cup, says Rousseff


President Dilma Rousseff: "I hear and respect those opinions but I don't agree with them. It is a false dilemma"

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff says her country is ready, on and off the pitch, for the football World Cup which starts on Thursday.

In a TV address, she said "the pessimists" had been defeated by the determination of the Brazilian people.

She rejected criticism of overspending, saying that the tournament would leave a lasting legacy of infrastructure.

Brazil has seen a year of protests against bad governance and perceived excessive spending on the World Cup.

Metro strikes are also threatening to disrupt the opening game in Sao Paulo.

The head of the World Cup local organising committee, Ricardo Trade, told the BBC that while a strike would be "a nightmare", the authorities were prepared and "inside the stadium, it will be a show".

He insisted that Brazil would deliver.

'False dilemma'

Speaking less than 48 hours before the start of the tournament, President Rousseff said that visitors would not be taking away infrastructure projects "in their suitcases", which would instead remain in the country as a benefit for everyone.

She defended the $11bn expenditure on the tournament, calling it a "false dilemma" that World Cup spending somehow diminished investments in health and education.

People wearing Brazilian flags arrive at the Santa Cruz Stadium in Ribeirao Prato on 10 June 2014 President Rousseff: "Below that green and yellow jersey you represent a powerful legacy of the Brazilian people"

The budget for these areas between 2010 and 2013 was many times greater than the investment in stadiums, she added.

"Rest assured of this, the World Cup accounts are being meticulously scrutinised by the country's auditing institutions," she said.

It follows criticism by local residents who say that many promised development projects have been delayed or never materialised.

The World Cup will kick off on Thursday with a match between the hosts Brazil and Croatia at the Itaquerao stadium, or Arena Corinthians, in the outskirts of Sao Paulo.

However, work is still continuing to prepare the stadium ahead of the opening match.

View of the Arena se Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo on 8 June, 2014 Arena de Sao Paulo will host the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday

Meanwhile. union leaders are threatening to resume a metro strike in Sao Paulo during the tournament if their demands are not met.

They are calling for staff threatened with dismissal for their involvement in strike-related disturbances to be reinstated,

A five-day stoppage that began last week caused widescale traffic chaos, with fears that a repeat of the disruption could prevent fans and employees from attending group stage matches. The strike was suspended on Monday.

President Rousseff has said she would not allow demonstrations to disrupt the tournament.

Thousands of extra police and soldiers will be deployed to ensure the matches get under way smoothly.


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World Cup protests


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  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    I sorry but the spending for this to me is outrageous. When there are so many people in need in Brazil. How can any goverment justify this amout of money for what 22 men kicking a ball. Then on top of this Brazil gets the 2016 Olympics where even more goverment money will have to be used. No goverment should be allow to misused its people for sport.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    1 day to go and can't wait, and if we look on the postive side at least the corruption is being exposed, thats the first stage, if teh WC would not have arrived non would be the wiser.

    But lets not throw the baby out of the bath tub, football is a massive global community amongst the fans, lets not forget them, they are innocent and just want to witness the biggest sporting event on the planet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Was in Rio two years ago. You don't have to go far back from Copacabana or Ipenima to see the homeless in doorways. 11 Billion would have gone a long way to improve their lives. I stayed in the same hotel as the England team are now staying in. The entire hill behind it was one enormous favella.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    I was in Sao Paulo for a few weeks in April and I didn't speak to one single person who was excited about the World Cup. But they all expressed disgust at the billions spent on the tournament while public infrustrature - schools, hospitals, roads, etc - continues to crumble. Comfy seats for VIPs while doctors sit on broken chairs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    This is absolutely disgraceful, 11 billion on an event which lasts for 4 weeks to line the pockets of the already filthy rich while people live in slums with no clean water. FIFA should be ashamed of them selves.


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