FIFA World Cup, a Web Revue


By URBACT, on June 11th, 2014

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Those last few weeks and days, signs popped out on European streets, announcing the  Fédération Internationale de Football Assocation (FIFA) world cup opening in Brazil tomorrow. In Europe, those are rather festive signs – mostly, adds for public viewing spaces and for food or drinks that go well with football, summer, and friendly company. But not only. For example, last week-end, during a massively popular street festival in Berlin, one could spot the words « copa pra quem? » written down on the street.

It seems like no wonder that the FIFA worldcup taking place in Brazil should make paradox inherent to professional football events particularly visible – because Brazil is one country where football remains a popular practiced sport and a country where the gap between more and less wealthy parts of the population is comparatively enormous, as two french NGOs spokesmen reminded in a blog post (in french) today.

Last summer, URBACT expert Peter Ramsden tried to make sense of sparked protests in Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro on this blog. Many articles and content have been produced over those past few months, weeks and sometimes years around urban and social issues that emerged around the world cup. To continue the discussion started by Peter, here is a sample of links that this blog’s editorial team gathered online over the past few weeks.

A year ago, Bloomberg Cities published this article on urban issues most direcly related to the World Cup – the question of wether most new stadions’ careers would end just after the world cup and despite their cost to public authorities. But we know this isn’t, and by far, the only issue. The Guardian sent a reporter to Brazil a few weeks ago whose reports on the protests, the world cup and the inequalities faced daily in Brazil sparked a small debate with readers, and his outlook was then discussed on Geostadia, the blog of Christopher Gaffney, an American urban study researcher based in Brasil whose blog is entirely dedicated to those issues.

Street artists and especially graffiti artists have been very active in brasilian cities and their work shared massively around the world’s social media. You might already have seen this sample by the Huffington Post and this one by the Guardian. Another response at street-level that reached international attention via social media were videos turning around the viral phenomenon around musician Pharell Williams’ « Happy » song to show inhabitant’s issues with urban developement in or out the world cup’s frame, which we found via a blog entry on blog.

If this spreads out, Brazil might well end up not only at the center of professional football’s world but also at the center of protests against urban inequalities…


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