The Straits Times
Published on Nov 15, 2012

World Cup 2014 host Brazil struggles to fill stadiums


(REUTERS) - Brazilians like to say theirs is the country of soccer and it certainly has a strong claim for the titles of the world's greatest player, greatest team and even the greatest stadium.

In the nation that will host the 2014 World Cup, however, fewer people go to see professional soccer matches than in China or the United States.

With attendances falling further this year, Brazilian clubs are using different strategies to try to fill their grounds but they are hampered by antiquated stadiums, a lack of respect for fans, television stations that show every game live and insufficient policing and security.

In the home of Pele, the legendary team that won the 1970 World Cup and Rio de Janeiro's giant Maracana stadium, just about everyone has a team and an opinion. But few actually go to support their side.