FIFA President Sepp Blatter has responded to criticism of the cost of staging the World Cup in Brazil by pledging to give at least $100 million from profits back to the country.
World football’s governing body gave South Africa $100 million to invest in development projects after the 2010 World Cup, but had not previously said it would establish a similar “social fund” after the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
The Confederations Cup, which serves as a World Cup warm-up event, has been marred by protesters denouncing billions of dollars spent to host the World Cup – money some say should be going toward improving public services.
“We have left a legacy [in South Africa], a special fund of $100 million, this fund is controlled by the Football [Association] of [South] Africa, the government of South Africa and FIFA,” Blatter said in Rio de Janeiro.
“I am sure an amount like that, or even higher, will be possible to have here... the aim from FIFA is not to take profit out of the country but to put into the country.”
Blatter said he can “understand this social unrest” that has rocked Brazil while the current tournament has been taking place.
The demonstrations took off earlier this month over a ten-cent hike in bus and subway fares in Sao Paulo and morphed into a mass, nationwide movement voicing public dissatisfaction with a range of issues such as government corruption, poor education, health care and the spending on the World Cup.
The government is projecting that $13.3 billion will be spent on stadiums, airport renovations and other projects for the World Cup, with an estimated $3.5 bn on the 12 venues.
As violence escalated in the streets near to Confederations Cup matches, with protesters clashing with police, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pledged that her government would start to address the concerns of Brazilians and would invest in projects the public had been demanding.