Welcome to the World Cup. And now, please cower for the traditional firing of the stun grenades. And kids, return any unexploded tear gas canisters you find to the concession stand, and you will receive a voucher for one free hot dog and soda.
If the Confederations Cup has been any indication, the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janiero is going to be a very wild and gassy affair. How gassy? Following the ConCup Final between Spain and Brazil on Sunday night, police say they ran out of tear gas. Where do you get more? I’m sure they’ll figure it out by next summer.
On Sunday protesters converged outside of the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro prior to and following the game, clashing with police. Thousands of protesters showed up, and 11,000 police were called to protect the stadium. Brazil beat Spain 3-0, but some players complained that tear gas wafting over and into the stadium affected them.
One thing you almost never hear in baseball on a fly ball: “I lost it in the tear gas.”
— Matthew Cowley (@MattCowleyBR) July 1, 2013
GOAL …Protester Kicks Tear Gas Pump in Brazil http://t.co/OaAJ4Af7PZ
— Ammar Abuobeid (@Ammar7ag) July 1, 2013
In response, FIFA said that while it will not meddle with the Brazilian government in regards to security for the World Cup, it will halt matches if tear gas affects the players. And people were complaining about the air pollution in Beijing during the Olympics?
And you knew it was only a matter of time before a hilarious quote involving giant fans happened:
FIFA secretary general JeromeValcke experienced the effects of tear gas during one game in Brazil, but said it is impossible to stop it drifting into stadiums.
“What you do want to do? To put volunteers (blowing) around the stadium?” Valcke asked.
“You want us to put some big fans in order to push (it) away?” he added. “There is a limit to what we can do. There is a limit to what we can ask. Again, we have to live with what we have sometimes.”
— James Montague (@JamesPiotr) July 1, 2013
The protests were sparked in June when the government raised bus fares by 10 cents to help pay for World Cup and 2016 Olympic improvements. The unrest has since grown in size and scope to include all manner of complaints and demands, but foremost is the notion that the government shouldn’t be spending money on stadiums when the people have so many basic needs and problems.
One has to wonder when some enterprising chap is going to start producing gas masks to sell near World Cup and Olympic venues.
Slideshow of Sunday’s action.