Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes became the latest notable figure to slam the organization around his nation's World Cup hosting, labeling the decision to host the tournament in 12 different cities as a "mistake."
Paes' comments were made Thursday, just a week before Brazil plays Croatia in the opener in Sao Paolo's Arena Corinthians. Not a single match has been played at that stadium, adding to the many questions surrounding the tardiness of the stadium.
“Up to now, there has been huge damage to our reputation. There is, when you don’t have everything done,” Paes said in a press conference. “We made mistakes. We shouldn’t have done 12 stadiums, we should have done fewer cities – that’s what brought us to this situation."
Paes vowed however that his nation will still host a memorable tournament and that the protests surrounding the World Cup aren't necessary directed at the event nor the 2016 Olympics in his city.
"I think we’re going to do great," he said. "I don’t think people are protesting against the World Cup – they’re protesting for services, for transparency, and that’s happening all over the world. While protesters often demand improved public health and education rather than stadiums, this is a false equivalency. Education has nothing to do with the World Cup – Brazil is capable of doing the World Cup and also delivering good education. If we don’t do it, it’s not because we chose to do the Olympics and the World Cup.”
A staggering $11.3 billion has been spent on the upcoming World Cup, the most expensive the tournament has ever been.