Boys play football in the favela of Tavares Bastos, Rio de Janeiro.
The favelas of Rio have been subjected to ‘pacification’ in the last few years and in particular since the announcement that Brazil would host the World Cup. This has meant special police units moving into these areas to try and rid the settlements of criminal activity, in particular drug trafficking. This policy of pacification has not been met with universal approval and there have been instances of police deaths resulting in the army being sent in to support the special police units with their efforts.
Favela life is a big part of Brazilian culture with over 11 million people staying in these ‘shanty-towns’. It is often said that the true cultural heart of Brazil can be found here, and with football part of Brazilian life it is common to see small football pitches squeezed in amongst the houses and buildings.