RIO DE JANEIRO: A frustrated Carlos Alberto Parreira has broken the unspoken ‘pact of silence’ among Brazilian football officials over the country’s blundering preparations for the World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Parreira is national team co-ordinator in support of coach Luiz Scolari. However he has spoken out with the authority of a man who has seen more World Cups at close range than any other Brazilian.
The 70-year-old coached Brazil to World Cup victory in 1994, was boss again in 2006 and has also managed four other nations at the finals. He has a particular knowledge of the demands of host nation from his experience with South Africa four years ago.
Thus far Brazilian football bosses, from confederation president Jose Maria Marin to Scolari to the players, have refused to be drawn into any comment about the inadequate state of preparations: six of the 12 stadia missed world federation FIFA’s delivery deadline of last December 31.
Parreira’s comments, to the CBN radio channel, have revealed that even the most experienced members of the technical staff are becoming increasingly concerned by the disturbance created by events off the pitch.
If this concern trickles through to the players then the hosts could be heading for a playing disaster in June and July.
Parreira, pointing up his insight from South Africa, expressed disappointment at his own country’s failure to undertake in good time all the necessary infrastructure projects.
He said: “We have missed an opportunity to provide reassurance about the nature of the new, different Brazil. We had everything to do – and have failed with everything.
“We know the World Cup is about stadiums, but it’s not only about stadiums. Fans can’t live in a stadium. They say everything will eventually be ready in 2018, 2020… but we wanted it ready for the World Cup to try to change this view that the foreigners have about Brazil.
“Everything was supposed to be ready for the World Cup, but it was a total neglect. I saw recently that they are going to start the bidding processes for (work at) airports in March, three months before the World Cup. It’s a joke. We won the bid seven years ago and it’s only now that they are starting these bidding processes.”
As for the risk of street protests affecting the players, Parreira insisted the squad would attempt not to be distracted, just as during the warm-up Confederations Cup which Brazil won last June.
Parreira said: “In a way the players are protected from it, they know they cannot become involved. If they do start worrying then focusing on their own work will be difficult.
“We have to concentrate on winning the World Cup and leave the off-the-pitch problems to the authorities. But nobody can be totally oblivious to what is going on.”
Until now the only headline criticisms from senior football figures about Brazil’s preparations have come from FIFA president Sepp Blatter, secretary-general Jerome Valcke as well as from some local politicians.