Brazilian Court to Decide If World Cup Law Constitutional
By Tariq Panja - Jul 10, 2013 11:00 PM ET
A Brazilian law governing the conditions of next year’s soccer World Cup is unconstitutional, according to a case filed with the country’s Supreme Court by Prosecutor General Roberto Gurgel.
Elements of the 2012 legislation, including tax exemptions for soccer’s governing body and its sponsors, violate Brazilian law, according to a statement posted on the prosecutor general’s website. Gurgel filed the complaint in June after receiving a report from a task force created in 2009 to monitor regulations and public spending on the quadrennial event.
Supreme Court Judge Ricardo Lewandowski asked for more information before he’ll make a ruling, according to a spokeswoman at the Supreme Court, who asked not to be identified in line with court policy.
Brazil’s government has committed almost 30 billion reais ($13.2 billion) for projects linked to the World Cup. Gurgel’s case was filed June 17 as Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup, a test event for next year’s competition.
The Confederations Cup was played against the backdrop of demonstrations as Brazilians took to the streets in record numbers to protest a range of issues including the cost of staging the World Cup, the most-watched event in sports.
“FIFA cannot comment on this pending procedure,” the soccer body said yesterday via e-mail.
Brazil’s advocate general’s office is still preparing its arguments to defend the World Cup law, it said in an e-mailed statement.
Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes said the Brazilian government and FIFA engaged in tough negotiations before coming to an agreement over what would be included in the bill. Fernandes said in a June 29 interview that the host nation resisted FIFA’s demands on issues ranging from ticketing to a specific clause related to counterterrorism.
Fernandes said all the soccer body’s requirements for the temporary structures built outside the six Confederations Cup stadiums were not met, and that local officials rejected a request for the provision of Segways, two-wheeled motorized vehicles.
“The hardest thing is that they don’t understand the sensibility and complexity of Brazilian politics,” he said. “My own experience is if you are firm in defining what you understand to be of national interest, you can make FIFA waiver or make concessions on a number of things.”
Earlier this year, FIFA’s top administrative official, Jerome Valcke, said it can be more difficult to host the 32-team event in countries with strong democratic traditions.
“I will say something which is crazy, but less democracy is sometimes better for organizing a World Cup,” Valcke said at a symposium in Zurich.
Russia will stage the event in 2018 before it moves to Qatar in 2022.
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