KEIR RADNEDGE in COSTA DO SAUIPE: Fear of protest? On the face of it no other logical reason exists for bringing the hoopla of the World Cup draw to the outlandishly out-of-the-way Costa do Sauipe.
The staging could hardly be more unnecessarily, wastefully, expensively had the organisers dropped the event in the heart of Amazonian jungle hitherto beyond the reach of man.
In fact the draw had been allocated to the coastal resort long before impatient millions took to the streets during the Confederations Cup last June and, on and off, ever since.
Organisers and broadcasters picking over their bills (not to mention the carbon footprint) can blame the poisoned legacy of disgraced Ricardo Teixeira who sealed the Sauipe deal before flying off into exile in Miami.
The happily peaceful coincidence is that protesters will be absent, intimidated by the prospect of marching up through the heat and humidity all 70 miles from Salvador.
** Prize money at the finals will be increased by at least a third from South Africa in 2010.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said the total will rise to $560m, some $140m more than the $420m available in 2010, when $30m went to winners Spain. The winners in Brazil will earn $40m.
Valcke said that an increased $70m would go to clubs who provide players for the World Cup.
** Mexico have confirmed that Miguel Herrera will be manager for the finals.
Herrera, El Tri’s fourth coach since September, led Mexico to victory in last month’s 9-3 aggregate intercontinental playoff win over New Zealand. But both he and Uruguay’s Oscar Tabarez will miss the World Cup draw.
** Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has called for the introduction of drink breaks during the finals.
Apparently Prandelli is unaware of the drinks break system which is already built in to all of FIFA’s competition regulations.
** Pele says he has decided not to be involved in the draw.
This is convenient since the Brazilian organisers had not invited him to juggle the balls and goldfish bowls anyway. Brazil’s active representatives will be Ronaldo and Cafu.
In 1993 Pele was banned from the US draw in Las Vegas because he was in dispute with Ricardo Teixeira, son-in-law of then FIFA president Joao Havelange.
** Adidas, producer of the official Brazuca ball, is giving one free to any child born in Brazil last Tuesday, when the ball was launched.