Nice logo, but not much else it turns out has either been completed or is on schedule it seems (still, and I yes, I know we’ve heard this before). Associated Press writer David Nowak has more:
MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA remains concerned at the slow pace of Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup, saying soccer officials in South America appear to have invested more energy in winning the tournament than organizing it.
“We don’t have stadiums, we don’t have airports,” secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Friday at the Inside World Football forum in Moscow.
He added it looked increasingly likely that some facilities, including Rio de Janeiro’s iconic
Maracana, would be ready with only a few weeks to spare.
“The Maracana is not a World Cup stadium” yet, Valcke said, adding that in Brazil “the main issue is not to organize the World Cup but to win the World Cup.”
Brazil, which won hosting rights by default after other South American nations withdrew, has been mired in organizational and bureaucratic problems since it was announced as host in 2007.
Builders working on one of the stadiums only this week returned to work after going on strike over pay and conditions. About 160 of the nearly 400 workers helping to upgrade Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte stopped working this month. The agreement includes a 4 percent wage hike, a health plan and more overtime pay.
Belo Horizonte is one of the cities vying to host the opening match. Others include the
capital, Brasilia, and Sao Paulo, South America’s biggest city.
Brazilian lawmakers this month were forced to approve a raft of measures aimed at reducing the paperwork needed to clear various infrastructure projects. The changes reduce the time to conclude the bidding processes on tenders, eliminating some stages and need for approval.
Saint-Clair Milesi, a spokesman for the local World Cup organizing committee, said from Brazil that with the exception of Sao Paulo, the construction of new stadiums and renovation of existing ones is “continuing according to schedule.” He declined to comment further.
Ricardo Leyser, a top official with Brazil’s Sports Ministry, told the Estado de S. Paulo
newspaper Friday that “it is obvious that Brazil will be ready on time to host the World
“We have no doubt that all the work being done to prepare the country to host the games will be concluded on time,” Leyser said.
Valcke urged Russia, which is hosting the event for the first time in 2018, to have the
required 12 stadiums ready two years in advance to allow time for test events.
Russia is building most of the facilities from scratch in a $10 billion project, a budget that
doesn’t include the massive infrastructure improvements needed such as rail networks, new roads and airport upgrades.
It was Valcke’s first public appearance since FIFA exonerated him of wrongdoing for saying Qatar had “bought” the 2022 World Cup hosting rights.
Valcke alluded to the maelstrom of corruption allegations surrounding FIFA in recent months, beginning his keynote speech by saying, “It’s good to talk about football. I mean, we need it at FIFA sometimes.”
Associated Press writer Stan Lehman in Sao Paulo contributed to this report.
And let’s face it, since the U.S. has no chance of winning the tournament, the nation may as well organize it