In it’s 83-year history, the FIFA World Cup has been hosted by the United States exactly once, in 1994. In one calendar year, the World Cup is scheduled to take place in Brazil; the next two have already been booked (Russia and Qatar respectively). The way things are looking it could be a while.
That is, unless these protests that are going on in Brazil—you know, the ones where millions of people have taken to the streets to show their displeasure for their government spending boatloads of money (that they don’t really have) to prepare for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics—continue to escalate. As more people are left battered and bloodied every day, rumors continue to grow that the World Cup, or at least some of the matches, could be moved to the good ol’ U.S. and A. But it’s not the first time this has come up.
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Rumors that a certain amount of 2014 World Cup games could be moved to the United States because of safety worries inside and outside of stadiums are also growing with each day. Ancelmo Gois of O Globo, a newspaper out of Rio, wrote the following on that very subject:
“It could be exaggerations but some members of Brazil’s Football Confederation fear the [World] Cup will be transferred to the USA due to the protests. Firms who have heavily invested in marketing the Confederation Cup are desolate. The protests have destroyed their possible markets.”
Whispers of World Cup games being moved from Brazil to the US arose in 2012 when numerous publications reported that stadiums being prepped for that competition may not be ready by 2014. The violence that has occurred in the country since even before the start of the Confederations Cup is, according to one source with knowledge, a different animal entirely. “There are several reports of footballers being robbed and fans being mugged,” I was told. “What possible incentive would an athlete on £100k per week have to put himself in such a situation?”
The idea, as was explained to me, is that there are plenty of markets/venues in the US that could quick-prep for World Cup games in under six months if absolutely necessary; Cowboys Stadium and MetLife Stadium to name two. College towns could even be called into action if larger cities are unable to house squads and the thousands of fans that would descend upon a given area if World Cupmatches were relocated.
“Think about State College, PA, for example,” I was told. “That town has plenty of lodging June through July, an airport, and a stadium that can seat over 100,000 fans. The idea that the US would be unable to schedule a ‘last minute’ tournament the magnitude of the World Cup is absurd.”
It’s worth pointing out that everything written and said about this matter is only speculation at this stage of the game. The Molotov cocktails being thrown at police and at buildings could go away sooner than later. Hundreds of thousands of protesters could decide that it’s just not worth it and remain in their homes. FIFA may choose to not back down and carry through with current plans regardless of all that is going down throughout Brazilian cities. What’s important, as far as American supporters are concerned, is that the US will be ready to lend a hand if asked.
I mean, I’m not going to say that I’m a fan of what’s going on in Brazil. It would be inhumane of me to turn an eye as these horrible things are happening. But if the Carioca can keep it up to the point where some official decision has to be made and the World’s tournament has to be moved, and that replacement destination happens to be the U.S., I’m not going to say I won’t be alright with it.