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FIFA sued in Brazil for reimbursement of funds

October 23, 2013

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian prosecutors are suing FIFA for reimbursement of public funds spent on temporary structures in stadiums that will host next year’s World Cup.

Prosecutors’ offices in five states said in statements posted on their web pages that they’re seeking reimbursement totaling $106 million.

They contend that the money was spent on temporary structures in or near stadiums during June’s Confederations Cup, the warm-up tournament to the World Cup. The prosecutors say that because the structures didn’t serve the public interest, the Brazilian taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pay for them.

They said the temporary structures were set up exclusively for the benefit of FIFA’s sponsors, broadcasting services and guests.

FIFA said in a Wednesday statement that the payment for the “complementary structures” is contractually the responsibility of stadium owners and not FIFA.

Brazil is preparing 12 new and renovated stadiums for next year’s World Cup, at a cost estimated at $3.5 billion.

Anger over the billions of dollars spent to host the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro helped fuel the massive protests that have hit several cities since June. Protesters say the money should be spent on better hospitals, schools and public transportation.

Meanwhile, the federal prosecutor’s office said Wednesday it was requesting an injunction to prevent public funds from being used to pay for temporary structures and broadcasting costs at all 12 stadiums during the World Cup. These costs should be paid for by FIFA and the World Cup’s local organizing committee, prosecutors said.

“It is a preventive measure that could save the country almost 1.2 billion reals ($550 million),” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The statement said the money would be spent to pay for things like fences, walkways, lighting, tents and temporary seats “that will not leave any benefits for society and will be dismounted after the Cup.”

“The public interest is not served by these costs that will not leave any legacy for the Brazilian people,” the statement said.

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