64 years later, a new Brazil hosts the World Cup

Fri Jun 6, 2014 12:11am EDT
 
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By Andrew Downie

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Today's Brazil is a completely different country from the one that last hosted the World Cup in 1950 but some things have hardly changed even after 64 years.

Now as then, the fans' desperation to see games is matched only by the authorities' inability to build stadiums on time and under budget.

This year's tournament will be held across 12 cities in June and July and will cost at least 28 billion reais ($12.32 billion), almost a third of which will go on luxurious new or modernised stadiums.

Three of the 12 arenas – in Brasilia, Sao Paulo and the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro - will cost more than 1 billion reais each, and yet only two of the 12 were delivered on time.

The 1950 matches were played at just six grounds, including the Maracana, which was built in less than two years at a cost of 430 million reais in today's money, said Diego Salgado, co-author of the book, "1950: The Price of a World Cup."

More than 90 percent of the entire budget for the 1950 tournament went on that one stadium, Salgado said. Authorities delayed years before starting construction work and then went over budget.

"It's been 64 years but we're seeing a rerun of what happened back then," Salgado told Reuters.

"The costs rose because it was urgent. The first game to be played at the Maracana was played seven days before the first game of the World Cup."   Continued...

 
A security guard walks in front of the Planalto Palace as it is lit up in the colours of the Brazilian national flag ahead of the 2014 World Cup, in Brasilia June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino