KEIR RADNEDGE in LONDON: Brazil – in a surprising statement by Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo in defiance of the opinion of all its critics – will have more than enough hotel accommodation available to host the 2014 World Cup.
This was one of the few intelligible and progressive statements of confidence issued by Rebelo in a confused international teleconference about the country’s preparations for both the World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
In terms of starting time and coherence the teleconference itself was a poor advert for what lies ahead of the sporting world.
Brazil’s politicians and organisers have been criticised, with increasing impatience and frustration, by senior figures in world football authority FIFA for the tardy state of preparations.
One of the frequently stated issues of major concern to not only FIFA but international travel and tourism organisations, concerns the perceived lack of hotel rooms in all the venue cities.
However Rebelo, asked about the issue, replied: “The biggest fear within the hotel sector is not the shortage of accommodation, but actually of oversupply of accommodation. The fear in the hotel sector is that there will be too many rooms offered in comparison to the demand, and because of that, there will be a decrease in prices.
“Additionally, large investments are also being made on accommodation. One French accommodation chain alone is investing US$ 2.5 billion up to 2015 in accommodation. As for the work for the World Cup, both in terms of stadium infrastructure as well as the urban mobility work, are on schedule; both of them.”
He added: “There is a lot of work to do – and we are working hard at it.”
Asked about what lessons he had learned from London 2012, Rebelo noted that these including the importance of issues such as a transport, security, volunteers and other support service.
Rebelo stonewalled questions about the scandal-riddled leadership of Brazilian football – as exemplified by ex-CBF president Ricardo Teixeira. He repeated his earlier statements elsewhere about a need for age and term limits for sports federation leaders.
Looking ahead to 2014 and 2016, he concluded: “We are building as a country in a way which would allow us to create a better country for our citizens as a legacy of these events. We say to the world: Come, we are preparing to receive you in the best way possible.”
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