Brazil has fallen victim to mass social unrest, the kind of which has exploded onto the streets of towns and cities across the nation.
The Confederations Cup is currently underway and FIFA have been quick to make a statement saying that there will be no impact on this precursor tournament.
It’s the statement they have to make but the protests show no sign of abatement and if anything they are gaining more momentum and becoming more destructive.
Taking London as an example, the riots that preceded the Olympic Games had some people worried but there was a marked difference. An incident between the police and a suspected criminal had been the catalyst and the rioting that followed became a bandwagon that opportunistic looters decided to jump on.
It was rioting to assuage the greed of a lot of socially disaffected people and it was soon contained. The Olympics went on to be, arguably the best we’ve ever seen and the doomsayers were thankfully proved wrong.
Brazil is a different kettle of fish – and at the heart of these protests seems to be a genuine feeling of injustice, a feeling that there is too big of a gap between rich and poor, a feeling that too much corruption lies at the heart of government and that there is no accountability.
These feelings aren’t as easily contained and there is a real danger that this is a social movement that will grow as long as the current government remains. Even a change of government isn’t a guaranteed solution to the problem as the problem is potentially institutionalised, like a well spread cancer it might be nigh on impossible to treat.
So what does this mean for the World Cup? Well, that remains to be seen.
We will watch how this plays out and whether or not FIFA can stand by their recent statement that the Confederation Cup will not be impacted.
Somehow I fear it’s out of their hands for the most part but what isn’t and should be being explored as a matter of urgency is what contingency is available for next year in the event that Brazil is engulfed by chaos?
image: © copagov