Footballer-turned-politician Romário has joined those criticising Brazil’s preparations for its hosting of next year’s World Cup.
The 47-year-old, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994, hit out at the amount of public money being spent on the extravaganza.
Romário, now a member of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, said: “When the Government announced the World Cup in 2007, they said clearly that 90% of expenses would be provided by private companies and only 10% by the public purse.Unfortunately, now, we see that 100% came from public money.”
“Public health and education are still far from reaching the level of country’s economy,” he added.
His comments come after skirmishes between police and protesters on Sunday at the close of the Confederations Cup, which was won by Brazil, who triumphed over Spain, 3-0.
The two-week tournament, seen as the warm-up for next summer’s World Cup, has been overshadowed by a wave of discontent.
Many Brazilians are outraged that the country is spending billions of euros to host the World Cup at a time when schools, hospitals, roads and public security are in dire need of investment.
But Ricardo Trade, operations director of the 2014 World Cup local organising committee, said: “Without the World Cup, Brazil could have to wait 20 years for this infrastructure. The Government progresses with this infrastructure in time for the World Cup and believe that soon, the people will benefit from the event. They will feel the difference in their lives. And the World Cup is also important for the image of the country abroad. Nowadays, Brazil receives less tourists per year, as a country, than Paris does, as a city. If we improve the quality of our airports, public transport, hotels, restaurants, I’m sure that people will come back in the future with their families. This was one of the merits of the World Cup in South Africa for example. Nowadays many people think to go to South Africa for a holiday, before perhaps you couldn’t imagine that. I think this massive tourism will improve our economy, because we are really good in the service sector. The people will understand the World Cup will bring employment, infrastructure and resources for the country.”