Brazilian law states that it is the duty of the State to promote sport as a right of each citizen, noting the allocation of public funds for the priority promotion of educational sports and – in specific cases – of elite sports. In view of this legislation, the objectives of this study were to investigate the amount of funds planned and executed by the Brazilian federal government on sport between 2004 and 2011, and to verify how these funds were distributed into the three sport dimensions recognised by the Brazilian law: educational, participation and elite sport. The research was quantitative, descriptive and exploratory. The data were collected from the ‘Siga Brazil’ portal and analysed using the Microsoft Office Excel (2007) and Statistical Package for Social Sciences (version 22) programmes. We found that the development of major sporting events in Brazil has significantly influenced the amount and distribution of budgetary resources in sports and leisure in the country. Although in the budget planning process the government had indicated the promotion of participation sports as a priority, elite sport and hosting Pan 2007 were taken as priorities in the budget execution process. The data show inconsistencies between the priorities established by the Brazilian Constitution and the priorities established by the governors. They also show incoherence between what was predicted in the planning process and what was actually executed. These inconsistencies have interfered with the democratisation of access to sport and leisure practices for Brazilian citizens.