RIO DE JANEIRO: June 12 – today – was a day of significance, exactly 365 days to the start of the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil next year . . . as well as three days to the start of the warm-up Confederations Cup.
Another statistic to emerge from the day on which the countdown clock was ticked into action on Copacabana was that 700 security agents of the federal police will be on duty in Rio throughout both tournaments.
Anderson Bichara, coordinator of major events for the Rio police, said a majority of those officers would be delegated to security in and around the official team and organisational delegations.
Travel for the teams will be secured with the use of not only escorts on the ground but helicopters with armed officers.
Co-ordination will be run out of the Jacarepaguá airport to the west of Rio whose Maracana stadium will host three games in the Confed Cup. June 16 sees Mexico play Italy followed by Spain v Tahiti on June 20 and then the final on June 30.
** FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been awarded honorary citizenship of Sao Paulo which will host the Opening Match in next year’s World Cup. The award was accepted on his behalf by secretary-general Jerome Valcke.
Blatter was unable to be present owing to a long-standing appointment of a meeting with the Prime Minister of Serbia in Belgrade at which it was hoped to might make some progress on the troublesome issue of Kosovo friendly matches.