Romario (cited in my story criticising the lack of a public transportation legacy) showing the red card in a cool piece of art in Sao Paulo

Romario (cited in my story criticising the lack of a public transportation legacy) showing the red card in a cool piece of art in Sao Paulo

I am often asked, What do think the World Cup will be like in Brazil in 2014?

My stock answer goes something like this:

“Visitors will have a great time. It is a dream come true for any real football fan to see the World Cup in Brazil and they will be made very welcome by Brazilians. In addition to the games themselves, they can enjoy beaches, music, nightlife, the lot. But when they all go home, the average Brazilian won’t have a lot to show for it. Authorities are not adding the public transportation links they promised, airports will still be a mess and communications will still be deficient. And we’ll still be paying way over the odds for everything.”

I wrote a long piece for Reuters that came out today about public transportation and how cities and states all over Brazil are breaking their initial promises to provide trams, express bus lanes, highways and metro lines in time for the World Cup.

The story says that,

     Although exact numbers are still changing, at least a dozen of the 49 original projects have changed completely and won’t be ready by the time the tournament kicks off off on June 12, 2014.

    Five cities – Brasilia, Fortaleza, Manaus, Salvador and Sao Paulo – won’t have the promised tram lines, express lanes for buses or metro links ready, according to Brazil’s Federal Audits Court.

    “The much discussed social legacy looks like it won’t get off the drawing board,” Romario, a former World Cup winner who is now a lawmaker in Brazil’s Congress, wrote last month in a newspaper column. “Almost all the transport projects are behind schedule, some have been put back and will be opened only after the World Cup and others have been cancelled altogether.”

This is one of the big tragedies of the 2014 World Cup.

The second is that more people aren’t demanding that those responsible for the broken promises be held accountable.