Aldo Rebelo: the country will always celebrate achieving an enormous legacy

04/03/2014 - 14:01

Foto: Glauber Queiroz/ME#Aldo Rebelo - Minister of Sport

The year of 2014 is a special one for football. In August, the Brazilian national squad turns a hundred. In February, Brazilian football turned 120. In June/July Brazil is hosting the 20th FIFA World Cup. It will be the second World Cup hosted by the country and the fifth in South America. Uruguay, Argentina and Chile has also hosted the tournament previously.

No one knows when there will be another opportunity to see all previous World Cup winners competing for another title in the country that has played in all editions of the tournament, hosting it once and winning it five times. For football lovers, it is a unique party.

In 1894, a young Brazilian named Charles Miller – son of a Scotsman, a São Paulo Railway Company employee called John D´Silva Miller and a Brazilian national from English descent called Carlota Fox – returned to Brazil after studying in England for 10 years. While in Britain, he had learned to play rugby, cricket and football, which was played by English workers on Saturday afternoons.  

On his return to São Paulo, Charles brought with him two old footballs, a pump, a pair of football boots, uniforms and a rulebook. When the old footballs started to be kicked about by railway workers in the state of São Paulo, the ball game invented by Her Majesty's subjects, began to turn into football and in all modesty, to be perfected.  

The Brazilian national squad was called up for the first time ever on 20 August 1914, winning its first ever international title: the Roca Cup, arranged with the aim of bringing Brazil and Argentina closer. We beat our neighbours 1-0 in Buenos Aires. A week before, we had lost a friendly to the same Argentina 3-0.

Since then, we have won five World Cups, four Confederations Cup and eight Copa Americas. These are collective victories built on the art of pioneers like Friedenreich (El Tigre) from the 1920s; Fausto from the first World Cup in 1930; Leônidas da Silva, the best player of the 1938 tournament and consolidated by following generations.

After the tragedy of losing the 1950 World Cup final to Uruguay in a packed out Maracanã, with 200 thousand people – then, the biggest stadium in the world -, we ended up being the birthplace of the likes of King Pelé, Garrincha, Vavá, Zagallo, Didi, Zito, Rivelino, Zico, Falcão, Sócrates, Ademir da Guia, son of Divino Domingos da Guia... And Brazil became the biggest FIFA World Cup winner.

There is not enough room here to write about the feats achieved by our players. But I offer two moments to pay homage to all the others: the biggest footballer of all times is Brazilian – Pelé – as is the highest World Cup scorer – Ronaldo, with 15 goals in 3 tournaments -.  

Therefore, there are many qualities that qualify Brazil to get the 20th World Cup going a hundred days from now, and starting the sport’s biggest party, which moves billions of people in all corners of the Earth. Therefore, there is nothing more appropriate than in the year when the Brazilian national squad turns a hundred, for football to come home, to the place where it turned into the great spectacle that fascinates and moves the planet.

The host country may not necessarily win the World Cup (we suffered from this in 1950), but will always celebrate achieving an enormous legacy. The most coveted and watched mega sporting event in the world, fiercely bid for by the most developed countries is a progress driver, as well as a geopolitical springboard.

It is our wish that when the final whistle is blown in Maracanã on 13 July 2014, Brazil is crowed champion.  As a concrete and irreversible reality, an extraordinary result that will benefit the Brazilian people will be left behind. The figures are rather auspicious. The last World Cup assessment, which used the month of September as reference, show that public and private investments have reached R$ 25.6 billion.

Ernst & Young and the Getulio Vargas Foundation calculate that between 2010 and 2014, the national economy will see an extra R$ 142.39 billion in transactions. For each R$ 1 invested by the public sector, R$ 3.4 will be invested by the private sector in construction works.

Three point six million jobs should be generated – the equivalent to Uruguay’s population -. Tax collection will reach R$ 11 billion, which will mean an additional income for the population of R$ 63.48 billion just during this four year period.

According to forecasts from Value Partners Consultancy, investments will add R$ 183.2 billion to the Gross Domestic Product by 2019. The effects on the economy will be even more fertile if Brazil wins the World Cup. A study by British researcher John S. Irons of the Centre for American Progress shows that the FIFA tournament drives the economy of the host nation that actually lifts the trophy. England’s GDP, which went up 2% in the 1966 World Cup, went up over 3% in the two following years. The same occurred in Argentina, 1978 host and winner.

In addition to economic aspects, before anything else, the World Cup is a contagious sport celebration, which finds its perfect setting in the country of football. The resounding popular success achieved by the Confederations Cup provided a sneak preview of 2014. Understanding its social and practical importance, the Brazilian people is in favour of the World Cup.

As seen before, football’s great party innovates or accelerates infrastructure construction works, which will be used by the host nation’s people for a long time. In addition, it brings tourists, improvements in safety and security, more jobs, wider reaching businesses and consequently, GDP growth. When kick-off is taken on 12 June, football fans will see that as well as knowing how to win a World Cup, Brazil knows how to stage one. 

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