Soccer fans are known the world over for two things: (1) treating their favorite sport like a religion, with more passion and devotion than fans of any other game, and (2) going absolutely nuts when their team of choice wins or loses in a big way. But for the 2014 World Cup, the Brazilian government seems convinced they’ve found a new way to minimize riot damage. And it comes at a great expense to Brazilian taxpayers… and American taxpayers, too.
FIFA, the governing body that rules over the global sport of soccer, granted the government of Brazil $7.4 million in research and development funding to create what law enforcement officials in the country have dubbed the “riot car,” a fake vehicle that looks as realistic as any car parked beside it, right down to having car alarms. The faux-vehicles release a non-toxic aerosol “tryptophan gas” when flipped, designed to quote “calm rioters down.”
But while the government seems well-intentioned, taxpayers in Brazil are fuming that even more money is being spent on the World Cup, which has so far cost the country a staggering $7 billion. Worse still is that each of the cars cost a mind-boggling $33,000 to build… making them more expensive that brand new, functional cars in the United States. Brazil spent a total of approximately $196 million buying 6,011 of the “riot cars,” to be parked near stadiums where games are to be played.
“They spent $200 million USD building 6,000 cars that are designed to be destroyed? That’s crazy,” said famed Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho Moreira, known to fans simply as “Ronaldinho.” “They could have spent that money better by hiring extra security or maybe doing a public service ad campaign or something. Or better still, they could’ve fed the poor with that money.”