São Paulo Traffic Jam
Street protests and a subway workers' strike in São Paulo forced the cancellation of a closed-door scrimmage between Team USA and Belgium. Reuters

A pre-World Cup scrimmage between the United States and Belgium was canceled Wednesday due to a traffic jam in the Brazilian megacity of São Paulo.

The planned scrimmage, which would have been off-limits to fans, was to take place at São Paulo Futebol Clube, the Associated Press reports. The U.S. team has been training at that location since Monday.

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots and U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann came to a mutual decision to cancel the scrimmage. Wilmots said that he “will not take the risk to go to São Paulo, looking at the possibility of strike and traffic jams,” AP notes.

“I don’t want to sit in a bus for five hours,” he added.

São Paulo is notorious for its traffic, a problem made worse in recent months due to series of street protests and strikes in Brazil’s largest city. On June 5, a strike among the city’s subway workers caused more than 20 percent of the city to experience gridlock, local newspaper Folha de São Paulo reported. The strike was suspended on Monday, but union officials said it may resume Thursday ahead of the 2014 World Cup’s opening match.

In May, tens of thousands of people affiliated with the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem-Teto, or Homeless Workers’ Movement, marched in a protest that disrupted traffic in São Paulo for more than 150 miles.