Brazil is hoping to make the 2014 World Cup “one of the most protected sports events in history,” the government said Wednesday as it announced a $900 million investment in its security forces, CNN reports.
It plans to have one police officer for every 50 people attending the matches, and one for every 80 people at public viewing events around the country, the article notes. World football’s ruling body FIFA has expressed concerns about Brazil’s increasing crime rate, especially in Sao Paulo, as well as worries that the South American nation’s infrastructure is behind schedule.
Brazilian sports minister Aldo Rebelo says that the issues are being addressed: “The Sao Paulo government adopted measures and responses for security together with the federal government, who offered help. The actions are being adopted together for the World Cup,” he says in the article.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said last month that the crime wave in Sao Paulo is not good for its image or tourism, and he criticized the lack of progress this year in providing sufficient hotels and transport facilities. While he was forced to apologize for those remarks, he said last month that steps are being taken to remedy the problems.
“In one unnamed city, there are 17,000 hotel bedrooms and a 45,000 capacity stadium,” says Valcke, suggesting that tourists might struggle to find accommodations. “But we have now moved from talking about the problems to talking about the solutions,” he adds in the CNN feature.
The Brazil World Cup bid team has increased its security budget as the country prepared to host the tournament for the first time since 1950, as well as next year’s precursor Confederations Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. The team in investing in high-tech vehicles, helicopters and surveillance equipment, with the $900 million to be spent coming from a wide $16 billion budget for infrastructure.
The last World Cup was held in South Africa, where the government invested $70 million to deploy 31,000 police officials during the tournament. After the 2010 event, South Africa had spent $65 million on crowd control equipment, crime scene trainers, helicopters, water cannons, new body armor and 100 BMWs for highway patrol, the article says.
This year, the British government budgeted $890 million on security for the London 2012 Olympics, plus $760 million for army, security services and police spending.