Brazil’s Federal Government’s decision to cut sport funding in order to tunnel money into public security initiatives has drawn the ire of the country’s athletic community. A group called “Volleyball Legends” that has in it famous volleyballers from the past to present such as Bruninho and Renan Dal Zotto penned one of the harshest letters directed at the country’s present Michel Temer amid protests. Here are a few tidbits from it (Globo.com):
“The proof of the benefits of sport to people is unquestionable, it is an irreplaceable tool for building a better society. Sport brings economic benefits to our country; if it were not for the stimulation sports practice, fueled by our high performance athletes, thousands of Brazilians would be sedentary, causing huge expenses to our already weakened public health system! How then, does the government even think of withdrawing financial support for sport in favor of public safety, sport itself being one the fundamental pillars that removes thousands of children and young people from the path of crime? […] Brazil, as of today, already lacks sport incentives. The reduction of funding towards sport will only heighten the violence in the country in the next few years. Throughout the whole world, sport is a powerful tool in crime prevention.”
Although the legislation change can be questioned in its logistics, there is no denying that Brazil is in dire need of improving its public safety. In 2017, Brazil had a murder rate of 29.2 per 100,000 population, which is one of the highest in the world. To put it into perspective, the murder rate in the USA, according to most statistics, is 5.1 per 100,000 population.