American Football benefits from Brazil World Cup

Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:05am EST
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By Mike Collett

CUIABA, Brazil (Reuters) - At the heart of every debate about modern sporting tournaments is legacy and one unlikely beneficiary of next year's soccer World Cup will be American Football in Brazil.

For, as well as the 12 host cities enjoying improved transport systems, airports and new stadiums, the Cuiaba Arsenal football team hope to share in the spoils bequeathed to their city by a rival code.

Paulo Cesar, a 32-year-old lawyer, could not be happier.

While most Brazilian boys grew up dreaming of emulating Pele or Ronaldo and winning the World Cup, his sporting heroes played with a different-shaped ball and scored touchdowns and not goals.

Now his team are to benefit from the World Cup when they switch homes from their modest ground to Cuiaba's World Cup stadium, the Arena Pantanal.

Although his team bear the name of one of the most famous soccer clubs in the world, they have no links to the Arsenal currently topping the English Premier League.

"No, we have nothing to do with them, in fact I'd never heard of them at first," Cesar told Reuters in the building site that is currently the Arena Pantanal.

"Our club is named after the fort built in Cuiaba to contain the arsenal of weapons to defend the city during the Brazil-Paraguay war in the 1860s and which is still standing today."   Continued...