Felipe Dana, Associated Press
Protestors march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. Not everyone — including religious leaders — is happy with this year's World Cup. But some people are finding new ways to celebrate the tournament.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is set to kick off this week in Brazil. And people aren’t exactly happy about it.

In soccer, a harsh or malicious foul can get you a red card, which is an automatic ejection from the game. The Catholic Church wants to give one of those out to the organizers of this year’s World Cup, Reuters reported last week.

Brazil’s Bishops Conference handed out a brochure that looked very much like a red card and explained their grievances with the summer tournament, which is to be held in a country full of Catholic followers, Reuters reported.

"The Church wants to contribute to the public debate and express its concern with ... the inversion of priorities in the use of public money that should go to health, education, basic sanitation, transportation and security," it said, according to Reuters.

And as the hours wind down before the summer extravaganza, strikes pop up across multiple platforms. Police used tear gas to recently quell an on-going protest in Sao Paulo, The Wall Street Journal reported. Subway workers protested in Brazil, days ahead of when soccer fans are flocking in to Sao Paulo to see the tournament’s opening match, according to WSJ.

"The negative effect would be the involvement of other social groups to back the subway workers, if that happens no one knows where it will end up," said David Fleischer, professor of political science at the University of Brasília, to the Journal.

This is yet another demonstration by Brazilian citizens who are upset over the costs of the tournament, especially when their country is need of investments in education, hospitals and schools, wrote Anthony Boadle for Reuters.

And even though Brazil has known it would host the World Cup for seven years, stadiums are still under construction, as is much of the promised infrastructure, Boadle wrote.

But there’s good news coming from this, too. It’s not all strikes and protests. As Amy McDonald mentioned in her Deseret News National story, the poor are speaking out in alternative ways.

And the impoverished people in Brazil are bringing together players to play a small tournament that is an alternative to the World Cup, Al Jazeera reported.

It’s called La Copa Popular — or, the People’s Cup — and is being run by the People’s Committee of the World Cup and Olympics, which is an activist group in Brazil, Al Jazeera reported.

“The players aren't world-famous. Rather, they're men and women of all ages from Rio's many favelas, poor communities that surround the city,” wrote Elizabeth Gorman for Al Jazeera.

And as the world gets closer to the World Cup, faith’s connection to the world’s game remains strong in more ways than just religious practice.

“Everyone knows that football is a religion in Brazil,” Rosie Dawson wrote for BBC, “but religion itself finds its expression in the game, and the players' behaviors on and off the pitch reveal much about the country's changing religious landscape.”

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com

Twitter: @herbscribner