Brazil Left with Expensive Stadiums, Debt after World Cup

Brazil spent $3.6 billion on new stadiums and $3 billion on infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup, which made it the most expensive World Cup in history. This is mainly due to Brazil’s choice to host matches in 12 cities instead of the usual 8. But now it appears to be a waste of money as stadiums are left in the dust.

The BBC highlighted the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia. It seats 72,000 and cost almost $900 million to build. It was filled for the Confederations Cup in 2013 and during the World Cup. However, now the government and city cannot fill it. It costs almost $2 million just to keep it operational. Officials claim it is the lack “of any significant local clubs” in the capital.

“By hosting the World Cup here in Brasilia, the local clubs lost a stadium,” explained Thiago Henrique, the spokesman for Brasiliense, which is one of the larger clubs in the capital. “We used to be able to play at the old Mane Garrincha stadium for free, now the running costs are just too expensive.”

A new government moved in during January. They found “just £13,000 [$19,301] in reserves and monthly outgoings of over £400m [$593,892,622].” The government is now cutting costs where they can. The debt forced them to cancel the annual Carnival parade for the first time since 1983. The huge stadium costs them over $445,000 a month, which is the biggest drain on the city.

“It’s clear that the stadium was a major investment and it consumed a lot of the city’s resources,” said Paulo, the capital’s administrative management secretary.

He also explained that “400 civil servants from three government departments will move into offices inside the stadium.” The move should save the city almost $3 million. For now the stadium is used as a bus depot. The government parks over 400 vehicles in the parking lot each day.

The Fonte Nova stadium in Salvador cost $200 million to make. The Esporte Club Bahia, one of the biggest clubs in the city, used it until recently. They announced on Tuesday the club is returning to its old venue.

“Bahia is still open to negotiations to play at the Fonte Nova arena if the (owners) consortium values and respects fans…and treats them well,” stated the club. “It’s the fans of Esporte Club Bahia that give life to the stadium.”

The other stadiums are failing as well. The stadium in Manaus, which is located inside the rainforest, only averages 659 fans and lacks local clubs. Rio’s famous stadium Maracana is struggling since “it needs 30,000 paying fans” to break even. It only averages 3,600 fans.

“We knew this would happen,” admitted journalist Juca Kfouri. “I think it was the fault of the Brazilian authorities, not Fifa. Brazil accepted the conditions. There was no post-World Cup planning. I think this waste could have been avoided if we had tried to do a World Cup in the style of Brazil, and not in the style of Germany or Japan.”


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