BRAZIL HOSTS THE WORLD CUP AND OLYMPICS
In the pantheon of Brazilian soccer mythology, Garrincha, Pele, Socrates, Zico, Ronaldo, and Neymar represent the divine. While Brazil struggles with problems of inequality, fear, and violence, soccer has became a visceral source of national identity, symbolizing excellence, spontaneity, and connectedness. But all is not well.
Epic Romance is a dramatic story of corruption in FIFA and its relationship to Brazilian football and culture. It is an account of how the beautiful game turned ugly. Brazil is a perfect access point for this story because of its world renowned status as the cradle of the world's favorite sport. It is a country and people that are all too often dismissed as politically and culturally inept and frozen. Yet this image belies a nation more grounded in reality than most, a country of 200 million that holds keys to a better world.
In 2013, during the FIFA Confederations Cup, one million Brazilian citizens rallied in the streets of cities around the nation to protest FIFA corruption and voice displeasure at the failure of the World Cup to boost the well-being of most Brazilians. These "manifestations" became an inspiration to those who wish to reject inequity, cynicism, and fear. Risking retribution from an entrenched football establishment, a movement emerged to champion transparency , democracy, and competent football administration. It questioned how repeated government bail out a dysfunctional indebted football system served the nation. As romance wanes, new heroes inevitably emerge. In the deeply conservative recesses of Brazil, nothing less than the return of Brazilian soccer glory will reassure the faithful.