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Federal government funding and sport: the case of Brazil, 2004–2009

In 2009, Brazil won the right to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. International media coverage of the bid process revealed the involvement of the then Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the project application. To further understand the government’s involvement in Brazilian Olympic sport, we undertook an analysis of federal investment in sport between 2004 and 2009. We reviewed both quantitative and qualitative data showing Brazil’s public investment in Olympic sport by analysing official information available through the federal government. Noting that sports, especially Olympic sports, were the recipient of federal funds, we critique the rationale underlying the government’s interest in providing financial support to this elite sport. Our analysis shows that federal funding for sports goes disproportionately to elite training and support for mega-events, despite constitutional guidelines to the contrary.