There’s always two sides to the story, as the old saying goes… and it seems as though that’s the case here.
When reports broke on Tuesday about the world famous Soccerex conference being cancelled in Rio de Janiero due to “fear of civil unrest” many shook their head as the problems in Brazil continue.
Well, now the Rio State Government have said the cancellation was down to finances and rubbished claims by Soccerex that the marquee event — which would’ve seen 4,500 delegates involved in football administration, marketing, sponsorship and the media descend on Rio — was unsafe.
The event was meant to go ahead from November 30 until December 5 at the Maracana Stadium before the draw for the 2014 World Cup. But this latest event in a long line of civil unrest will cause great embarrassment to the city of Rio, as plenty of soccer’s most influential names (including FIFA President Sepp Blatter, England manager Roy Hodgson and many others) had agreed to attend the event at the host stadium for the 2014 showpiece final.
Soccerex had the following to say about the event’s demise.
“It is with great disappointment that we must confirm that the final Soccerex Global Convention in Brazil will now not be taking place,” Soccerex said. “With the ongoing civil unrest, the Rio de Janeiro State Secretary of Sport took the political decision to withdraw their support from the Soccerex Global Convention. Preparations for the event at the Maracana Stadium were well advanced with content planned, speakers confirmed and partnerships in place.”
If you remember back to June when the Confederations Cup was taking place, millions of Brazilians lined the streets in protest of a rise in bus fares and a lack of investment in public services.
Those outbursts have continued ever since and moved to different cities, with the protests becoming more violent as times passed by. That was too much of a risk of Soccerex, in their opinion, as they pulled the plug on an event which brings influential leaders in the game together ahead for the World Cup.
However, local government in Rio claim that Soccerex pulled out because they couldn’t afford the fees to put on the event in the stadiums. Although sources with inside information on the deal have told multiple news outlets that initially the Maracana was offered to Soccerex free of charge by the government by the new consortium who redeveloped the venue and now own it wanted to charge the company a large amount to host the event.
In case you were wondering what Soccerex are all about, they were established in 1995 and is the leading provider of business events for the global soccer community. They also bring together key industry decision makers from the world of soccer, providing a commercial environment where delegates can benefit from business opportunities.
The loss of this event could have massive financial implication on Brazil 2014, as soccer companies and business leaders will miss out on the chance to visit the region and develop investment opportunities for next summer’s tournament.
It seems as though the protestors are getting exactly what they wanted, more pain for Brazil’s 2014 World Cup bid.