World Cup 2014: Brazil bracing for violent anti-government protests over waste, unfinished projects
"This work here that's right by the stadium, I think they'll get it finished," said Atilio Martinelli, who runs a locksmith business near the building site. "It'll be done poorly and at the last minute, but they'll at least finish it. But there is no way they'll finish most of the other projects. It's going to be a great humiliation for us."
Instead the construction delays have become an embarrassment for many, stoking public anger over poor public services, the high cost of living and corruption scandals. Many Brazilians now say that even if their beloved soccer team wins the World Cup on July 13, the country will have already lost.
Brazil is officially spending just over $11 billion on the World Cup, though some think the number is much higher. An additional $15 billion is being spent on the Olympics, to be held in Rio in 2016.
FIFA, football's world governing body, is chipping in $1 billion of its own money for the World Cup, which generates more than 90 percent of FIFA's $5 billion income over a four-year cycle.
"The IOC and FIFA want the newest, fanciest, most spectacular facilities for every event," Matheson said. "All the risks are put on the host country or city, but all the revenues are going to the IOC or FIFA."
Eighty percent of the $3.5 billion earmarked for the 12 stadiums is public money, although former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva promised years ago no public money would be used.
At least four of the venues are likely to be "white elephants" in cities without top-division football clubs.
Brazil's former national team coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has been scathing, calling World Cup preparations "a joke."
"We missed an opportunity to show the world what we can do in this country," said Parreira, who led Brazil to the World Cup title in 1994 and is an assistant this year to coach Felipe Scolari. "We know the World Cup is about stadiums, but it's not only about stadiums. Fans can't live in a stadium."
in Brazil, where a woeful public health system is hobbled with crumbling infrastructure and a chronic shortage of doctors, especially in poorer areas. This is part of the reason the government spending billions on the World Cup fuels protesters' rage. At rallies, demonstrators routinely demand "FIFA standard" hospitals, a reference to the high-quality new stadiums. At rallies, demonstrators routinely demand "FIFA standard" hospitals, a reference to the high-quality new stadiums.
There is widespread, palatable anger toward the government and business leaders over the perception they misspent billions on stadiums that won't benefit people after football's big event, or public works projects that may never be finished.
"Ordinary people have been forgotten," Barbosa said. "They invested a lot in the World Cup and forgot the people."
Peaceful protests against Brazil World Cup continue
Local reports claim twice as many police officers accompanied protesters in Sao Paolo on a march on Thursday as they took a stand against Brazil’s hosting of the football World Cup in less than three months.
It is one of a number of peaceful demonstrations where activists have expressed their anger at the cost of the tournament.
Protesters believe the money should instead be spent on education, healthcare, transport and tackling crime.