An interview with Brazilian supporters before World Cup 2014
Written by Jo, Yorkshire St. Pauli member in May 2014, prior to the start of the World Cup.
Paula (Internacional Porto Alegre)
Carina (Internacional Porto Alegre)
Jo (Yorkshire St. Pauli)
Right before the start of the World Cup in 2014, I had the opportunity to talk with Paula and Carina, two local Brazilian football fans from Internacional Porto Alegre, about their club, the fans and the upcoming World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
Jo: Hi Paula and Carina. Many thanks for taking your time for this interview. The World Cup in Brazil has been approaching quickly. You are both Brazilian football fans. Could you please tell me a bit about your club?
Paula: My club is Internacional Porto Alegre, the club of the ordinary people without the big money.
Carina: The supporters of such Brazilian clubs are called Torcedors.
Paula: The club has got a long tradition of about 100 years. It was founded in 1909. The club has got a newly refurbished stadium for the World Cup. At the moment, there are still a lot of construction sites around the stadium and nothing is ready. Two months ago, there was the first game to test, if the stadium is ready for the World Cup. The plan was to introduce the new stadium to the fans. It was a Brazilian Championship match. Most of the fans did not go there.
Jo: Why didn’t they go there? Don’t they like the new stadium?
Paula: No, this is not the case, but the problem is that the infrastructure around the stadium is not yet ready. It is very difficult to get there now. The club is promoting some advantages to the fans, which go to the stadium. They want the fans to come back to stadium.
Jo: What do you mean by advantages?
Paula: For example, children don’t pay for tickets. And sometimes it is also free for women. We have a lot of fans, which are associated to the club. In Brazil, we have a lot of big fan associations. I think, Internacional Porto Alegre has got more than 100,000 associated fans. Internacional is very organized and they have got a strong marketing.
Jo: And why do you support Internacional Porto Alegre?
Paula: The fans of Internacional are called Colorado. My fathers and my mother and my whole family support Internacional. My father took me to the matches, when I was 12 years old. I started to love football and went to a school, where they played football for girls. With 15, I started to play football at our school. So, I played 2 years for Internacional Porto Alegre in the indoor football team. But we did not play in championships, only single games. This was the time, when I started to go to matches regularly. But since the stadium was refurbished for the World Cup, I have stopped going there. I haven’t been there for a couple of months. So, I haven’t been to the new stadium yet.
Jo: What about the organized fans in Brazils and the World Cup?
Paula: Every fan supporter in Brazil is called Torcedor. A group of Torcedors is called Torcida. These are general names for fans. Every club has got a Torcida. They are some kind of leaders for the fans. The government and the other institutions are trying to eliminate them, because they bring a lot of violence to the stadiums. A football fan was killed two weeks ago. And there is also a lot of drug abuse and trafficking related to these groups.
Jo: Personally, are you looking forward to the World Cup 2014?
Paula: Yes, of course. A general opinion in Brazil is that the World Cup is not that good for the country, because we spend so much money on the event and on the stadiums, while we have other problems. These are the reasons for the protests. However, the Brazilians wanted the World Cup and we have to stick to this decision and make the best out of it. We should celebrate with the people, who are coming to our World Cup. I don’t agree with all these protests, because we made the commitment and we have to live with it. So, we should make the best out of it and enjoy the event. The decision for the World Cup is made and we have to live with it.
Jo: What about the time before the World Cup? How did you perceive it?
Paula: I am not so informed about everything, but I know that we have still a lot of construction sites. Nothing is ready for the event. We have a lot of transport and traffic problem. Moreover, a lot of volunteers were trained to guide all the fans from abroad. Today, we had a test match of the Brazilian championship in our stadium to simulate the World Cup to identify potential problems. The stadium is actually ready, but the infrastructure around (e.g. streets or railways) is not ready yet.
Jo: And how do the normal Brazilians perceive the World Cup?
Paula: I think, they don’t want the World Cup at the moment, because they think that we have other problems with higher priority. And money was spent on things, which are not really necessary and many things are overpriced. Most of the people in Brazil don’t like the idea of such an expensive World Cup, while we have so many problems.
Carina: The people think, the money for the World Cup should be spent in other things, like schools and hospitals. Very understandable.
Paula: However, the decision has been made and we have to cope with it now. It is a commitment.
Jo: What about the protests before World Cup? What were the reasons?
Paula: They started last year, because the prices of the public transport, trains and buses, increased. This was the starting point. But then they were related to the World Cup and that so much money was spent on the stadiums and the infrastructure. While at the same time, schools and hospitals are not very good.
Jo: What does the World Cup mean to you as a fan of Internacional Porto Alegre?
Paula: For me, it will be a wonderful event. We can see great matches and teams and many different fans to support their team. And I hope, the event will become a success and a wonderful party.
Jo: Ok, so let’s get to the last question. What do you expect from the World Cup as a fan and also for your team?
Paula: I hope, Brazil will become the next champion, of course. And I hope, we will have great parties during the World Cup. We will prepare a lot of parties to watch the games at bars or at home.
Jo: Will you go to see a match?
Paula: No, because I don’t have a ticket.
Jo: But you applied for a ticket?
Paula: Yes, I applied for a French match, because they will play here in Porto Alegre in the stadium of Internacional. However, I didn’t get a ticket.
Jo: Many thanks for your time. I will come back to you for the second interview after the World Cup.