Although there were dire predictions for the World Cup…
Would the stadiums be ready?
Would the country be behind the team?
Would the demonstrations continue?
Would the roads and airports cope?
…so far, many commentators and journalists have said that Brazil has staged the best World Cup in thirty years, meaning either Spain 82 or Mexico 86. Putting aside the demonstrations that occurred, to almost right up to the opening game, and people’s valid grievances at the overspending and mismanagement of the preparations, this World Cup has been hugely successful.
However, something has been overlooked. The people who built the stadiums, because without the stadiums there would be no games. In 2012 I photographed the Maracanã and Arena Corinthians (known as the Arena São Paulo during the World Cup). The construction workers were working in temperatures that I found difficult to photograph in, so I can only imagine what it must have been like to work in. I have to say here that they looked well catered for, had a well-stocked canteen, water points and regular breaks. So, I’m writing this post to say thank you to the men and women who built those stadiums, whatever you think of FIFA, the cost of staging the competition and the fact that the money may have been better spent elsewhere.
While watching the games I’ve marvelled at the stadiums and remember the workers I met in Rio and Sao Paulo. Warm, friendly people who didn’t mind a ‘gringo’ with a camera interrupting them to chat and take their photo.
Here are a few of them, but they represent all of them, everyone who put a shift in to build the stadiums, so that we could enjoy a game of football, and not forgetting those that were injured or lost their lives.
All photographs copyright of Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann.
© Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann