With less than a month to go until the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, Pele has lambasted organizers of the event.
The Brazilian hero, who helped the Selecao win three of their five World Cups burst onto the scenes in the 1958 finals as a teenager, is largely considered to be the greatest player the world has even seen.
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So, Pele’s opinion matters and his critical comments came during a talk at Anahuac University in Mexico City, where he backed protestors who oppose the spending but doesn’t agree with the violent nature in which they are voicing their anger.
Recent figures state that Brazil is spending about $11 billion overall on the World Cup and $4 billion alone on 12 new and refurbished stadiums. Pele, 73, believes this money could be much better spent elsewhere.
“It’s clear that politically speaking, the money spent to build the stadiums was a lot, and in some cases was more than it should have been,” Pele said. “Some of this money could have been invested in schools, in hospitals. … Brazil needs it. That’s clear. On that point, I agree (with the protests). But I lament what protesters are doing, which is breaking and burning everything. It’s money that we will have to spend again.”
Pele wasn’t done there as he then slated the preparations of the stadiums and believed the uncertainty surrounding whether many venues would be ready in time has had an impact on the number of tourists who will visit this summer. Pele singled out the venue in his old stomping ground of Sao Paulo which is meant to host the opening game of the tournament on June 12 between Brazil and Croatia. Part of the roof will not be complete until after the World Cup is finished on July 13.
“We already know that 25 percent of foreigners who are going to Brazil (for the World Cup) are worried about this movement (protests), and I think they have even canceled (their trip). So this is a great loss for the country,” Pele added. “The first match is going to be in the Corinthians stadium in Sao Paulo, which is called Itaquerao. But there’s a problem because it’s not finished yet. That’s what I say is regrettable. That’s a problem.”
Pele is worried. The outside world seems to be worried. What about the organizers and people in charge?
Some Wigan Athletic fans got a little too excited following the club’s shock 1-0 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup, and the police are now investigating alleged crimes that happened on the field and outside of the stadium.
Police confirmed to the BBC that two supporters were arrested outside the stadium on suspicion of assault while the police are working with both Wigan and Man City to investigate what happened pitch side after the final whistle.
[READ: Wigan bounce 10-man Man City]
Man City striker Sergio Aguero was involved in an altercation with a fan on the field after the game, and it appeared that Man City supporters threw down advertising hoardings onto the field.
“Football is a family event and the disruption that players and fans alike faced will not be tolerated,” Greater Manchester police chief superintendent Stuart Ellison told the BBC. “As soon as people were on the pitch, we immediately deployed our resources to the front of the stands, where they were able to keep the two groups of supporters apart and prevent any further disruption.”
For the third time in the past four months, Ruben Semedo has found himself in trouble with the law.
According to a report from Spain, the Villarreal centerback was arrested Tuesday morning at his home on charges of assault, kidnapping and robbery. A complaint filed to the police by a victim alleges that Semedo and two others tied the victim up and locked the victim in a room in Semedo’s home.
Semedo and the others then allegedly took the victim’s keys and went to the victim’s house, where they allegedly stole money and/or other valuable items.
[READ: Wigan shock Man City in FA Cup]
Villarreal has yet to respond to the latest incident off the field, which has marred Semedo’s season and the club’s reputation. Semedo has only played four times this year as he’s currently recovering from a right leg injury, and he’s been sidelined with a variety of injuries since joining from Sporting Lisbon for around $17.3 million last summer.
This is Semedo’s third time in trouble with the law. Last October, after a long night of partying, Semedo allegedly smashed a bottle over someone’s head. In November, in the early hours of the morning following an all-night session at a night club, Semedo pointed a gun at a member of the night club’s security staff after an argument earlier in the evening forced Semedo to leave.
For the latter crime, the local prosecutor is pushing for two years in prison. If the current allegations can be proven true, Semedo could face even more time behind bars.
As of right now, it seems incredibly unlikely that Semedo could feature for Portugal in the World Cup, as he’ll have more important matters to deal with.
MOSCOW (AP) Russian authorities in two cities say they have issued hundreds of fines after finding many hotels were illegally hiking prices for the World Cup.
The Rospotrebnadzor consumer regulator says one Moscow hotel raised prices up to 570 percent above what is allowed by a government decree designed to prevent excessive profiteering during the tournament.
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The regulator’s Moscow branch says it issued fines totaling 5.95 million rubles ($105,000) to 198 legal entities and 181 people.
In the Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg, where Mexico and France will each play a group game, the regulator said it fined seven hotels, some of which were charging almost three times the allowed rate for rooms.
Russian authorities have taken a hands-on approach to regulating hotel and travel costs during the tournament to prevent the negative publicity of visiting fans being charged large sums.
MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.
Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.
The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.
The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.
The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.