Pre-World Cup conference in Rio de Janeiro cancelled due to civil unrest
A weeklong pre-World Cup conference scheduled to begin at the end of November in Rio de Janeiro was cancelled on Tuesday due to ongoing civil unrest in Brazil, according to a report from Rob Harris of the Associated Press.
The conference, scheduled for Nov. 30 to Dec. 5, was to be attended by leading soccer executives and managers. Soccerex, the organization that was to host the event, is in the process of seeking legal action against the Rio state government.
Rio’s Secretary of Sports reportedly “took the political decision to withdraw their support” of the meeting, according to Soccerex, and now the soccer organization is seeking “substantial compensation” for an alleged breach of contract.
Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie apologized for the sudden cancellation and said the situation was “completely out of our hands.”
“On behalf of all at Soccerex, I would like to apologize to every business, football club, league, federation and media organization affected by this news. This unique and cruel conclusion to our time in Rio was completely out of our hands.”
Protests in the country have been going on for months, with heightened disturbances this past June and July during the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
There are many points of contention between taxpayers and the government. In particular, many residents are upset over the amount of money the country is spending on hosting the World Cup next summer even as Brazilians continue to struggle financially. According to media reports, Brazil’s government is projected to spend the equivalent of approximately $3 billion taxpayer dollars for investments related to the 2014 World Cup.
FIFA’s Marketing Director, Thierry Weil, commented on the situation at this week’s World Travel Market Convention in London:
“A lot of questions have been asked [about security] but when we opened ticket sales … people still wanted to come.”