The grand-daughter of former FIFA president Joao Havelange has told the Brazilian public to forget about the cost of the World Cup and enjoy the tournament.
In what may go down as her very own let them eat cake moment, Joana Havelange, daughter of disgraced former president of the Brazilian Football Federation, Ricardo Teixeira, has suggested there was no longer any point in calling for some of the billions spent on the World Cup to be redirected toward health, education and transport.
“I want the World Cup to go off as well as possible,” said Havelange, who holds a role on the local organisation committee. “I’m not going to jeer it, because whatever money has gone had been spent or stolen already.”
“If it was necessary to protest … then people should have done so beforehand,” she said in the post, which was later deleted. “I want people coming from abroad to see a Brazil which knows how to welcome, to be friendly,” she added.
” I want to see a beautiful Brazil. My protest against the World Cup will be during the (October general) elections.”
“What’s been spent, what’s been robbed, has already happened,” said an excerpt of a message she shared on social networking website Instagram. “Destroying what we have today won’t change what will be done tomorrow.”
The money has indeed gone, the whereabouts of some of it unknown, but given the family connections of Joana, perhaps it’s best not to probe too deeply into that particular can of worms.
Last year, Joana’s grand-father, Joao, who controlled FIFA for 24 years, resigned as honorary president after being officially denounced for having taken bribes.
Teixeira, his son-in-law, Joana’s father, was forced to give up all his footballing roles – including head of the Brazilian FA and a prominent FIFA executive committee position – and fled Brazil after both men were accused of illicitly receiving millions of dollars in the ISL bribery scandal.
The World Cup, which kicks off on June 12 in Sao Paulo, is expected to accompanied by similar protests to those witnessed at last summer’s Confederations Cup.
With almost every stadium over-budget and most of the infrastructure work behind schedule, this latest intervention is unlikely to ease tensions ahead of the tournament.