The secret corruption behind the World Cup

Boys watch as another boy practices his soccer bicycle kicks at a Rio de Janeiro slum, Brazi, Monday, June 9, 2014.

With football's highest prize up for grabs, all eyes are on Brazil for the FIFA World Cup.

Despite England's inevitable exit in the opening stage, millions of us have tuned in to see other, more able (or not if Brazil's latest efforts are anything to go by), teams battle it out in the hopes of lifting that elusive trophy on Sunday night.

But what about those for whom the World Cup means far more than just an excuse to don ridiculous headwear, face paints and stay at the pub later than usual?

How about those who are losing out on the benefits of millions in tax because of loopholes in advertising laws?

FIFA has forced the Brazilian government to offer huge tax breaks to World Cup sponsors, which include multinationals such as McDonald's, Budweiser and Johnson&Johnson.

Christian Aid reports that Brazil is thus losing out on a potential €200 million, which could otherwise be used to provide healthcare, education and sanitation facilities which it so desperately needs.

Though the tabloids are full of WAGs and celebrities enjoying beautiful sandy beaches and strolling down the promenades, the harsh reality of life for many of Brazil's poorest people has been hidden from view.

With a population of almost 200 million, the nation is home to some of the world's most impoverished communities. They are forced to live in terrible conditions, daily at the risk of disease, malnutrition and abuse, which stand in stark contrast to the multi-million pound stadiums that have lit up our screens for the past few weeks.

Advertising money, cruelly withheld by some of the world's largest and most affable corporations, could have transformed the lives of untold numbers of people, and yet the injustice continues.

"Nelson Mandela once said 'sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair'. This is true, sport can have this power," the Las Jugadas de la Fifa website reads.

"But mix sport with corporate greed and you get a World Cup in which the only winner will be the greedy multinational companies who sponsor the tournament.

"This is a clear example of how the eradication of poverty and inequality is a political decision."

Christian Aid iscalling on FIFA President Sepp Blatter to commit to changing the regulations to ensure that future host nations are not hit by the same injustice as Brazil has suffered.

For more information and to sign the petition, click here.

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