Back in 2004 when I was doing research for Temples of the Earthbound Gods I had an encounter with Eduardo Viana, then president of the Rio State Football Federation (FERJ). The now deceased Viana ran FERJ like Ricardo Teixeira runs the CBFdp, out of a black box. The only way I was able to get a list of the professional teams in the State of
was through the grace of a secretary who cobbled some documents together for me. No one in the institution, other than this secretary, had or was willing to give any information about anything. FERJ would be considered a throwback to an older way of running football, except in Brazil there has never been any modernization or modification from the times when fleshy men with fat, ringed fingers pulled levers behind closed doors. Viana’s descendents are still in control at FERJ and everyone was very excited to receive State Secretary of Tourism and Leisure Márcia Lins who finally reappeared in the media to open the new FERJ headquarters the other day. The news coverage of this non-event was confusing, as it conflated the rumors of the Maracanã`s future privatization with the opening of FERJ-lânida: Rio
"O edital de concessão do Maracanã para a iniciativa privada deve ser lançado no segundo semestre de 2012, antes mesmo da conclusão do estádio, prevista para fevereiro de 2013.
A informação foi confirmada ontem pela secretária estadual de Esporte e Lazer do Rio de Janeiro, Márcia Lins, durante a inauguração da nova sede da Federação de Futebol fluminense (Ferj). Orçada em R$ 776 milhões, a obra é tocada com recursos do orçamento estadual."
"The information was confirmed yesterday by the State Secretary of Sport and Leisure of
, Márcia Lins, during the inauguration of the new offices of the Fluminense Football Federation. Budgeted for R$776 million, the project is funded by the state treasury." Rio de Janeiro
We all know that the Maracanã is going to cost much, much more than that, hence I was confused about what project they were referring to. Finding how much public money went into the FERJ building will be difficult, but not nearly as difficult as untangling the rats’ nest that is the Maracanã. Here’s a question I posed to the fine folks at the State Secretary for Sports and Leisure:
Geostadia:Qual seria a diferença nos custos de manutenção pre e pós reforma? What will be the difference in the maintenance costs pré and post reform.
SUDERJ: Ainda não há previsão. There’s no projection.
Now wait just a minute. The stadium is undergoing a billion R$ reform and no one knows how much the stadium is going to cost in upkeep? This answer came on October 10th in response to a question posed on September 6th. That’s the answer in its entirety. They don’t know and apparently don’t care. The job of most Press Secretaries in
is to tell you that people are busy or that no one has any information and that you should call back after lunch. We do know that stadiums cost approximately 10% of their initial cost in yearly maintenance, so we can project around R$100,000,000 per year. Thus in ten years, another billion will be spent on the Maracanã. Brazil
Romário continues his roundhouse kicks to the heads of the government brain trust in charge of the World Cup preparations. He’s part of the Fórum Legislativo da Copa de 2014 which is in
Rio this week poking around. Romário is calling people out, stating the obvious: “It’s sad to see the Maracanã like this, it’s totally disfigured, it’s no longer the same stadium…When we see the projects on powerpoint, everything looks marvelous, but the reality is very different…The World Cup is a great event, but it only lasts one month. We have other priorities.” Thank you, Romário. Stating and explaining the obvious is the most complicated thing to do.
Trash, trash, trash. If it’s a big problem with mega-events, it’s a total nightmare in
Rio. Last week, I attended a public hearing about the redesign of the city law that grants permits for events to occur. One of the most serious public servants I have encountered, Gustavo Puppi, explained the disaster that mega-events of all kinds bring to the administration of COMLURB (the city’s trash collection service). In addition to generating thousands of extra tons of garbage per year, COMLURB has to reduce service in the Zona Norte to clean up the increased mess in the Zona Sul. The effects of these parties radiate unevenly through the city. At the Rock [sic] in Rio party, there was almost no coordination between the event producer and COMLURB, making their task doubly difficult. Worse, the Municipal and State governments can’t get organized enough to figure out how to deal with all the trash generated by the city. Between the closing of the Gramacho aterro and the opening of the dump in Seriopédica (which will not allow for catadores, the subject of Wasteland), more than 80% of Rio de Janeiro’s trash goes to informal dumps. Go on, tell me another one about mega-event sustainability.
At the same public audience, headed up by city councilman Messina, were representatives from RIOTOUR, SETRANS (state transportation), and the Bombeiros (state fire dept). The opening salvo from the RIOTOUR representative dealt with the importance of Formula One racing to the city of
Monaco, comparing the impact of a once yearly event in an isolated European tax-haven and principality with the role of mega-events in a city of 13 million in . This paradigm of clear thinking then recited the usual litany of tired Brazil comparisons. Where is this inexhaustible fountain of kool-aid that these blind parrots keep drinking from? I’m thirsty from shouting them down. The SETRANS fellow was well- satisfied with the special transportation system that brought the adoring 40,000 Justin Beiber fans to the Engenhão (aka Stadium Rio, ex-Estádio Olímpico João Havelange), but couldn’t explain why there was no special transportation scheme for football matches. This is clearly no longer the pais do futebol, but rather a country in which a pre-pubescent Canadian gets the key to the city while ordinary people are treated like cattle. If that key opens one of El Principe’s black boxes, that’s cool with me, but Justin Bloody Beiber!?!?!?!? The kid is not even old enough to drive, what’s he going to do with a key to the city? Barcelona
The handing of the key to the young Bieber puts this macaco pelado canadense in the mixed company of recent key recipients: the Mexican band Maná, Joseph Blatter president of FIFA, the promoter of Rock [sic] in Rio Roberto Media, Rei Momo Milton Junior, Blu (?), and Apostolo Renê Terra. I am taking bets on the next round of key distribution, giving three to one odds on IOC president Jacque Rogge and million to one odds on a certain gringo professor.
And to round off a spectacular post, even more interesting facts about the Maracanã. In addition to reducing the capacity by 42%, the size of the field is getting whacked by 16%. This will forever impact the kind of football played at the stadium. As a mode of comparison, check out the following table which lists the sizes of the notoriously small English grounds (in square yards) with the sad trajectory of the Maracanã. Not only are the stadiums para ingles ver, but they are increasingly para jogar
os ingleses. No more time on the ball, no more jogo da cintura, no more individualism. Tight marking and long balls, yes sir mister sir. como