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Pele fears violent protests may ruin 2014 World Cup

March 13, 2014 11:00 IST

Pele fears violent protests may ruin 2014 World Cup

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Brazilian soccer legend Pele has said he fears that violent protests in Brazil could ruin the upcoming 2014 World Cup.

Mass anti-government rallies that began during last June during the Confederations Cup are expected to continue during the World Cup, to be held in 12 Brazilian cities from July 12 to July 13.


Image: Protesters demonstrate against the staging of the upcoming 2014 World Cup
Photographs: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Tags: Pele , Brazil

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On the other hand, Rio de Janeiro has announced it will introduce city-wide holidays when World Cup matches are played midweek in a bid to avoid traffic gridlock.

Half-day holidays will be held when Spain play Chile on June 18 and Ecuador meet France a week later, while municipal workers will be given the whole day off on July 4 when the city hosts a quarter-final.


Image: The official mascot of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, Fuleco the Armadillo, is seen on a float
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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"The measure is designed to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and minimise possible problems for the population, as well as make it easier for fans to get to and from the Maracana stadium," the city said in a statement.

The four other matches to be held in Rio, including the final on July 13, take place at the weekend.

More cities are expected to follow Rio's lead in a bid to avoid transportation chaos.

Brazilian governments promised an overhaul of the country's antiquated public transport system ahead of the tournament, many of the projects originally planned have failed to progress.


Image: A woman walks her dogs during a protest on the streets near the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro
Photographs: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
Tags: Rio , Maracana

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Although Pele rates Brazil among the tournament favorites, he however, called on Brazilians to temporarily put aside their disquiet over bad governance and corruption as otherwise the path to a sixth World Cup will be littered with obstacles.


Image: Neymar poses with Brazil's new jersey for the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Photographs: Buda Mendes/Getty Images
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Pele also said that it makes him sad that their country had only two opportunities to showcase their talent and tourism options with the World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics, adding that it is important that the protests do not ruin the event, which is a good opportunity to make money and develop tourism. 


Image: A reveller from the Vila Isabel samba school participates in the annual Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro
Photographs: Sergio Moraes/Reuters
Tags: Pele

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