KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING: Brazil’s World Cup organisers have been warned by FIFA that no doubts should remain when the venues for next year’s Confederations Cup are revealed next Thursday in Sao Paulo.
The run-up to the 2013 and 2014 jewels in FIFA’s crown – and also bank balance – has been dogged with concerns over the delays and slow pace of infrastuctural development.
FIFA and the Brazilian Local Organising Committee had listed Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife and Brasilia as provisional venues but Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has conceded “we don’t have a single stadium ready for the Confederations Cup right now.”
Main venue for concern is Recife’s Arena Pernambuco. Only 64 percent of the construction has been completed just eight months from the tournament, according to contractor Odebrecht Infraestructura.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general and World Cup progress-chaser, has rattled a Swiss sabre at the Brazilians in his latest commentary on preparations.
Valcke said: “This is a crucial moment for us organisers because once the ticket sales start it would be very problematic if a venue runs into challenges to be ready to host matches.
“I need to repeat myself when we speak about readiness. We do not mean the day of the tournament kick-off but with enough time to stage at least two proper test events.
“That is also why we always reiterate that the venues for the major FIFA tournaments need to be ready six months ahead of the first game.
“I know this sounds a long time but in reality it’s not.
“New venues particularly need more time to be fully tested at various events at different capacities. From electrics to crowd management, from stewards to public transport and parking management all processes must be well established to ensure that come the FIFA Confederations Cup next June – when Brazil will be in the spotlight of the world – we will not face any major operational obstacles.
“We must ensure that fans have an unforgettable experience without any logistical nightmares. ”
Valcke described the Confederations Cup as “an acid test for FIFA and the host country.” The draw takes place on December 1 with tickets going on sale on FIFA.com two days later.
Spain, Italy, Mexico, Uruguay, Japan and Tahiti have qualified for next year’s tournament and will be joined by the winners of the African Nations Cup to be held in South Africa in January and February.
Brazil will kick off the tournament in Brasilia on June 15 and the final will be played at Maracana on June 30.
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