11 October 2011

Fat-Fingered Blind Parrots and a Hairless Canadian Monkey with Keys

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 Rio 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:

"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 Rio de Janeiro, 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."

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 Brazil 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.

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 Brazil. This paradigm of clear thinking then recited the usual litany of tired Barcelona 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?

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 como 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. 

Maracanã  2009, 120.3 x 82.02 yards, 9867
2. Manchester United, Old Trafford, 116 x 76 yards, 8816
Maracanã  2013, 114.8 x 74.3 yards, 8529
19. Bolton Wanderers, Reebok Stadium, 110 x 72 yards, 7920

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Inspired by this block, I think Im going to start up a similar one when i move to curitiba


2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar