RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil, despite being chosen as World Cup host seven years ago, is still not ready in basic areas to host the finals in June and July.
The latest damning indictment of incompetence and procrastination was evident from confirmation by FIFA secretry-general Jerome Valcke that the stadia in Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo remain unfinished with the finals little more than two months away.
After his latest progress check, Valcke said: “If you want me to summarise, we are not ready. We have two stadiums where there is still work to do.
“For Porto Alegre, an agreement was made between the different parties in the city to make sure the temporary facilities would be financed, so it is now more the implementation of these decisions.
“In Sao Paulo, it’s sad because a worker died a few days ago and the result is that the work has been stopped inside a stadium where there are a number of things to do.”
Dropping venues is no longer an option.
Valcke added: “There is no way we can postpone the Opening game. We have a match schedule and it will go until 13 July so there cannot be any delay.
“Maybe there will be things which will not be totally ready at the beginning of the World Cup but the most important thing for the 32 teams teams is the training camp and fields, all of this will be there to ensure you have football.
“Then we have to make sure television can get the international feed [of games] and we have to have all the telecommunication systems in place for the media, all the structures you need when you move from a normal stadium to a World Cup stadium.
“You have no choice, you have to make sure that if you are not getting 100pc you have 99.99pc and that’s what we are working on.”
A construction worker fell to his death at Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians, which is due to host the opening match between Brazil and Croatia. That took the number of fatalities at the site to three after two died in November following a partial collapse of the stadium. A total of eight men have already died working on World Cup stadiums.