The Football Crónicas took part in the Dangerous Times festival on Saturday, at Rich Mix in London. Clara Becker, author of ‘Congressman Romário: Big Fish in the Aquarium’ - a crónica portrait of Romário, the 1994 World Cup winner, now a politician – was in town for a panel discussion entitled ‘Brazil 2014: The end of the beautiful game?’
Mark Perryman chaired a round-table talk that also featured Sue Branford (of the Latin American Bureau), David Goldblatt (author and broadcaster – Radio 4 recently aired his ‘The History of Brazil is Round’) and Justin McGuirk (author of Radical Cities, a look at town planning and social policy across Latin America). As the panel’s sole Brazilian, Clara was frequently called upon to provide the insider view in a lively debate that covered the role of football and how sport can be used to engage people politically; why this is especially true of Brazil; how former footballers such as Romário and Ronaldo fit into the scheme of things; how mega sporting events can be, but aren’t, used for social good; whether there will be protests at the World Cup.
Indeed at all events over the past few weeks, the protest question has cropped up time and time again. Nobody really knows the answer: there will undoubtedly be protests, but whether they are small or large, peaceful or violent, depends on so many factors it is impossible to call. Everyone on the panel hoped that there would be protests and that they would be seen, heard and respected, albeit without unduly interrupting a sporting event they hope is played and enjoyed in the right spirit, and won by Brazil (two panelists), England (two panelists) or Bosnia (one panelist).