A senior FIFA official fears there will be trouble at this summer’s World Cup following months of serious civil unrest across Brazil.

There is anger in the south American country over the billions spent on the finals at the expense of much needed investment in health and social welfare.

That anger manifested itself at last summer’s Confederations Cup, the dress rehearsal for the World Cup, with mass demonstrations resulting in some of the worst violence Brazil has seen for decades.

The trouble has continued and this year there have been clashes between riot police and protesters in cities including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and the capital Brasilia. A presidential election in October is adding to tensions in the country.

Now Michel D’Hooghe has become the first prominent FIFA official to reveal concerns about the potential for civil unrest during the finals.

The Belgian, who has been on the  FIFA executive for 16 years and is their medical chief, told Standard Sport: “I am sure there will be problems, specially as some months later there will be elections in Brazil. That is why I am not looking forward so enthusiastically towards World Cup.”

Such is the anger in Brazil that even their footballing great Pele has been denounced as a “traitor” for defending FIFA.

“It is completely contrary to the normal attitude,” said D’Hooghe, “When you have the World Cup you give great hospitality to the people who are coming. But we had to cope with the negative aspects of the people in Brazil during last year’s Confederations Cup and these negative aspects will be there now. We must not hide that.”


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