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Those who follow the daily national news surely will have noticed that some of the recurring slogans in the recent social uprisings that took over Brazil had a direct relationship with the 2014 World Cup, which will take place in 12 cities across the country. From hospitals and schools that do not have a rigorous ‘FIFA standard’ to meet, to the questioning of the expenses incurred by the Federal Government for the delivery of the event, the presence of the World Cup in Brazil is under intense scrutiny by the people, who are questioning the validity of the investments made by the Government and the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) in improving infrastructure and renovating stadia.

Those who follow the daily national news surely will have noticed that some of the recurring slogans in the recent social uprisings that took over Brazil had a direct relationship with the 2014 World Cup, which will take place in 12 cities across the country. From hospitals and schools that do not have a rigorous ‘FIFA standard’ to meet, to the questioning of the expenses incurred by the Federal Government for the delivery of the event, the presence of the World Cup in Brazil is under intense scrutiny by the people, who are questioning the validity of the investments made by the Government and the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) in improving infrastructure and renovating stadia.

In an article published in Folha de São Paulo newspaper on July 10, Pedro Trengrouse, the coordinator of the ‘FIFA/FGV/CIES: Management, Marketing and Law in Sport’ course and UN consultant to the World Cup, analysed the investments related to the World Cup in the context of the Brazilian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). His findings showed a lack of a contingency plan in any other area of the country’s economy and a distinct preference towards the World Cup, and that most of the initiatives are focused on the country’s infrastructure, not directly related with the event, except for the stadiums and even they are not too costly in comparison with those from the previous tournaments.

Trengrouse then looked at the contributions of BNDES to the construction of the stadiums compared to the total investments of the bank since 2008, when the host cities for the World Cup in Brazil were announced. From a total of R$7 billion (US$3.1 billion) invested in stadiums, BNDES accounted for an amount of R$3.7 billion. Over the past five years, the bank contributed R$700 billion to several projects, which means that only 0.5% of the investments made by BNDES since 2008 were related to the World Cup.

In his article, Trengrouse also pointed out that soccer currently generates R$11 billion a year in Brazil, and supports 370,000 jobs. Based on data from the Fundação Getulio Vargas, the consultant predicted that with the modernisation of stadiums and adjustments in the management and governance of sports clubs, those numbers could reach, respectively,  R$62 billion a year and two million jobs. Therefore, it is noticeable that part of the legacy the 2014 World Cup can leave for the country is an increase in the creation of jobs in Brazilian football, feeding a virtuous cycle of income generation and, consequently, increased consumption, which positively impacts other sectors of the national economy.

However, in order for that legacy to become a reality and deliver long-lasting effects, the investments in reforms of the infrastructure in stadiums should be seen as the first step of a much more profound and urgent process. The sustainability of the heritage of the World Cup for Brazil is closely related to the modernisation of sports management in the country, which, in spite of recent advances, pales in comparison to European football powers, who knew how to capitalise on the popular passion and turn this sport into an profitable industry, which involves a whole ecosystem formed by broadcasting and image rights, licensing of products and supporter schemes, and sponsorship contracts that can reach the hundreds of millions of euros.

It is not an easy or brief task to make sports management in Brazil reach European levels, but the first steps have already been taken. The growing discussion about the importance of professionalising club managers feeds and encourages initiatives such as FGV, which in 2010 signed a memorandum of understanding with FIFA, the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) and Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) for development training programs and strengthening of Brazilian football. The result of the protocol was the creation of the course FIFA/FGV/CIES: Management, Marketing and Law in Sport.

Almost 200 professionals have already gone through the program since it was started in 2012, including club managers, executives of large corporate sponsors, former athletes and professionals involved with sports. A large web of talents from different areas and fields of expertise is then formed and can contribute to raising sports management to a new – and more modern – level.

The path to modernisation for Brazilian football has begun to be followed, but it is necessary to deepen the discussion, so you can take advantage of the many different resources with which Brazil already has today – such as big corporate sponsors – and still unexplored potentials of supporter schemes and trained managers who are, above all, people passionate for the sport.

It is necessary to see the World Cup as part of a larger picture: Brazilian football as a profitable and self-sustaining economic activity, a sporting spectacle that mobilises – and thrills – crowds.

This article is provided by FGV, who will be hosting the second ‘Sports Management FGV FIFA Master Alumni’ seminar in Rio de Janeiro on August 7. For more information please visit www.fgv.br/seminariogestaoesportiva.

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