World Cup politics dig into Brazil's training venue

Posted by Tim Vickery

After Sunday's 2-2 draw with England, Brazil are in action again this Sunday when they take on France in Porto Alegre.

It would make sense, then, for them either to stay in Rio for their training sessions or to move straight down south to the venue of their next match. But that is not what they have done. Instead, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and his men have traveled further north from Rio, in the opposite direction to Porto Alegre, and are currently training in Goiania.

There is no technical reason for this. It has cost them a day's work, and there is no particular advantage in the Goiania facilities. It is a purely political option.

Goiania was a likely host city for the 2014 World Cup. But it was not chosen, losing out to the clout of Brasilia, the country's modern capital. The original idea was to make it up to Goiania by allowing it to stage matches in the 2015 Copa America, which Brazil was due to host. But a year ago the tournament was instead given to Chile -- so Goiania is being compensated by this brief visit of the national side.

Political considerations are always part of every World Cup. But the size and circumstances of Brazil make them especially important this time.

Brazil is as big as a continent, and its airport capacity has long been seen as the weakest point of the 2014 project. The original idea, then, was to return to the previous system of World Cup organisation; the country was to be divided into four regions, with teams playing all of their group matches in one of them. This would reduce traveling time and cut down on passenger journeys. It made eminent sense.

But, as it turned out, it made no political sense. As staging the tournament became more expensive, and the taxpayers' burden kept getting heavier, such a scheme became unfeasible. If all of Brazil was paying for the World Cup, then it was clearly unfair if only one region would stage all of the host's group games. Brazil would have to play in three different regions. And if they had to travel around, so would everyone else.

The problem is that some will be traveling much more than others. Depending on the luck of the draw, some teams will have an easy ride -- others will face long journeys and huge temperature differences. This December's draw will perhaps be the most important in World Cup history.

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