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'You wouldn't know the World Cup is on'

ESPN staff
June 11, 2014
Greg Dyke has been outspoken during his time in Brazil, having launched an attack on FIFA president Sepp Blatter © Getty Images

While England are busy preparing to kick-off their World Cup campaign against Italy on Saturday, it seems their hosts are a little more apathetic towards the world's biggest sporting tournament.

That is the view of FA chairman Greg Dyke at least, who said he was surprised by a lack of interest in the World Cup from the residents of Manaus, the Amazonian city where England will play their Group D opener this weekend.

"What I'm surprised about this city is the fact that you wouldn't know there is a World Cup going on," said Dyke. "I'm told there's all sorts of politics. There is real concern about the protesters. Some people don't want Brazil to win because they don't want the government to get re-elected.

Preparations for the World Cup have been marred by protests from Brazilians angry at the amount of money being spent on hosting the tournament while poverty is still rife in the country. And in Manaus, the construction of the Arena da Amazonia has come at the cost of life after three workers were killed in accidents at stadium.

"The only reason you'd know there's a World Cup here is because half the people are on strike and you can't get from the airport," said Dyke. "The people I've been talking to are of the view that it's very quiet."

"It does bring up the question for the future, because clearly there are a lot of people in this country who think too much money has been spent when there are extremes of poverty."

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