Caroline Stauffer and Guillermo Parra-Bernal – Reuters, 03/22/2016
Grupo Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL], the engineering firm at the heart of Brazil’s biggest ever graft probe, on Tuesday agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, in a move likely to send shockwaves across political parties that for years illegally siphoned money from state contracts.
Executives at Salvador, Brazil-based Odebrecht targeted by the probe, known as “Operation Car Wash,” will ask for plea bargain deals with prosecutors, a company statement said. It marked a radical shift for Odebrecht, which had previously done little to cooperate in the two-year-old probe. The company said the decision was made to help “build a better Brazil.”
The news came as the team of investigators in the probe on Tuesday uncovered systematic corruption at Odebrecht, with an office to pay bribes on work for World Cup soccer stadiums and Olympics legacy projects. Raids carried out at dawn uncovered a parallel bribery scheme that helped extract money from state-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras PETR4.SA.
Taylor Barnes – USA Today Sports, 05/28/2015
As word of the arrests of 14 FIFA officials and sports executives spread, many Brazilians responded with surprise, a measure of support and a sense of vindication over the news.
The country has seen large-scale protests since 2013, often directed at the government with many exasperated with expenditures on last year’s World Cup and the Summer Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro will host next year.
In the year since the World Cup, outsize stadiums built in cities across Brazil that do not have soccer clubs large enough to fill them have reportedly been used as bus parking lots, and venues to host children’s parties, weddings and religious events.
Matthew Townsend, Tariq Panja – Bloomberg Business, 05/27/2015
Nike Inc. said it’s cooperating with authorities on the same day the U.S. unsealed charges saying an unidentified sportswear company took part in bribing a Brazilian soccer official for a sponsorship agreement.
The deal described in an indictment of FIFA officials mirrors one obtained by Nike. The charges refer to a U.S. company that signed a partnership with the Brazilian federation in 1996. Nike, based in Beaverton, Oregon, announced its decade-long pact with Brazil that year.
“Nike believes in ethical and fair play in both business and sport and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery,” the company said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. “We have been cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, with the authorities.” Nike, which isn’t named in the indictment, declined to comment on the allegations.
Robbie Blakeley – Bleacher Report, 11/04/2014
In all walks of life there are turning points. Moments that force you to stop, contemplate what has gone and fundamentally shape the future. On a personal level that kind of event may be marriage, parenthood, achieving a career goal. An occasion that marks the “then” and “now” of an epic journey.
For Brazil and their incredibly successful national side, one such moment came on July 8, 2014. On that fateful evening, the five-time world champions suffered the most humiliating result in their history, a 7-1 mauling at the hands of Germany in the World Cup semi-final.
It was the most one-sided semi-final result in the tournament’s history. And to rub salt into an already gaping wound, Brazil’s quest to rid themselves of the 1950 ghosts and be crowned world champions on their own soil had been wiped out in less than half an hour of the contest.
Fernando Duarte – The Guardian, 10/21/2014
The revelation that Barcelona paid over £20m more than they originally declared to tempt Neymar from the Brazilian seaside town of Santos to the more noble shores of Catalonia in May 2013 was noisy enough to bring down the then president Sandro Rosell and trigger an investigation into the finances of the striker’s father and main adviser, Neymar Sr.
It also shone a light on the complexity of the deal and the number of parties involved. In 2009, when Neymar Jr was aged 17 and was not even a regular in the first team, Santos already feared losing the boy’s services. To entice him to stay, the club put together a vastly improved contract negotiated by selling “chunks” of the player, accounting for 40% of his economic rights, to DIS, a fund belonging to a Brazilian supermarket mogul. By the time he was sold to Barcelona, Teisa, a group formed by some of the club’s directors, also owned a further 5% of the golden goose.
Neymar’s tale is emblematic of why Fifa’s decision to ban third-party ownership “within three or four years” will have a strong impact in Brazilian football. Without investors, Santos would have never been able to hold on to their biggest poster-boy when big clubs, Chelsea included, came knocking – even though the process also included the club pretty much relinquishing any participation in the player’s image rights.
Jacqueline Day – Forbes, 09/29/2014
For a month this past summer, billions of fans around the world stayed glued to televisions broadcasting the FIFA World Cup from Brazil. Millions more descended on Brazil to watch the games in person. They came despite the various warnings about Brazil’s readiness to host and fears of widespread, violent protests. Yet, as it should be, the tournament will mostly be remembered for the drama that played out on the pitch: from the Brazilian team’s epic collapse against Germany and the controversy that erupted when Uruguay’s Luis Suarez (some would say allegedly) bit an Italian opponent, to the emergence of Colombian star James Rodriguez.
That the tournament will be remembered first and foremost for the soccer was no small feat and, frankly, a massive surprise. Thousands of corporate VIPs, celebrities and world leaders descending upon a country known for its security, logistics and infrastructure challenges was worrisome enough. Such a backdrop, combined with the disruptive social unrest that flared unexpectedly in 2013, could have easily shifted the storyline away from the sporting competition itself. That it did not is a testament to the hard work and careful preparation of the legions of public and private sector workers, as well as to the Brazilian people’s devotion to “the beautiful game.”
The Brazilian security forces deserve plenty of credit. They took active measures to address lessons learned from the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, effectively managing and containing the smaller-scale protests that did occur, and critically, avoiding the heavy-handed tactics that only aggravated matters in 2013. They were helped by two additional factors. First, many Brazilians who had previously engaged in legitimate and peaceful protest activity during the Confederations Cup were alienated by the violent tactics of anarchist groups, the so-called Black Blocs, with whom they did not want to be associated. Second, in keeping with custom, most Brazilians cared more about watching the matches than taking to the streets. Even Brazil’s crushing loss to Germany—an event that caused security directors to collectively hold their breath—failed to galvanize the masses to take back to the streets.
FIFA has released an in-depth document detailing the dizzying array of facts and figures that combined to make up the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
Want to know how often Goal Line Technology (GLT) was required? Or how many jobs were created? What about the fastest goal, or the number of HD cameras filming the event? For all these stats and many more, relating both to events on the field and behind the scenes, check out FIFA’s exclusive guide, a few tasters of which are provided below.
5,154,386 attended FIFA Fan Fests in Brazil during the World Cup, with Rio de Janeiro’s spectacular Copacabana site attracting 937,330 – the highest number in any individual city.