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article imageBrazil unions backing Cup

By AFP     Mar 25, 2014 in Business

Brazil's two biggest unions on Tuesday lent their backing to the World Cup and the 2016 Rio Games on the grounds they would "generate tax receipts and jobs" for the hosts.

"Large events open the possibility of numerous public and private investments, which generate employment and tax receipts and lasting benefits for the whole population," the press secretary of the Central Workers Union (CUT) told AFP, quoting union chairman Vagner Freitas.

"It matters little if the works undertaken to improve the county's infrastructure are ready before or after the World Cup," he added as Brazil struggles to overhaul creaking infrastructure in time for the June event.

The CUT, a supporter of the ruling Workers Party (PT), added it believed anti-Cup protesters were being manipulated by the opposition in a bid to harm the PT's hopes in October general elections.

President Dilma Rousseff is favorite to win re-election. But the success of the World Cup hosting is liable to play a role in determining her fortunes at the polls.

Brazil has seen public protests against the Cup over the past year owing to a bill topping $11 billion. Many citizens believe the money should have been spent upgrading poor public services.

After large-scale protests last year, more recent anti-World Cup marches have been smaller but more radical. Some have ended in violence.

Freitas dismissed the protests as a ploy to hurt the government.

"These demonstrations under the slogan 'There will be no World Cup' are manipulated by the opposition.

"They cannot accept that it was the government of (Rousseff party ally and predecessor Luiz Inacio) Lula (da Silva) that won the right to host these events in Brazil," Estadao de Sao Paulo earlier quoted Freitas as saying.

The union told AFP the president's office had been in touch with unions requesting that they "distribute more positive news" about the World Cup explaining the overall benefits of such events.

Another union leader, Miguel Torres, added he "favored sports events" but stressed that while he backed "the World Cup creating jobs and boosting the country's visibility, it cannot come at any price."

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