RIO DE JANEIRO: Jerome Valcke is still not happy. FIFA’s secretary-general has refused to let up in his nagging at Brazil over delayed preparations for the imminent World Cup finals.
Three of the 12 stadia are still causing Valcke particular concern after his latest two-week tour of the country: Natal, Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo. The latter hosts the World Cup’s Opening Match on June 12.
Valcke talked of a “race against the clock” in Natal and said there was a lot “yet to be done” in Porto Alegre. As for Sao Paulo, FIFA requested a second test event at the Itaquerao Arena that will host Brazil v Croatia on June 12.
However did express satisfaction with the work under way in the other nine host cities, including Curitiba, which earlier this year was threatened with exclusion.
Valcke’s final stop on Thursday was in the northeastern city of Salvador, where he said there was “no time to waste” ahead of its staging of the 2010 World Cup Final repeat between Spain and Holland on June 13.
Via Twitter, Valcke said: “All must be perfect that day. Pleased with Salvador’s commitment to work with our on-site team to finalize remaining works for fans, media & teams.”
Also, just in time, Salvador officials announced a deal to stage a local fan fest while Recife is close to an agreement.
RIO DE JANEIRO: Jerome Valcke has said he is demanding perfection from Brazil’s World Cup organisers and venues.
In his latest blog on FIFA.com Valcke reported that “overall, we are getting there, with the teams on the ground busy applying the final touches.”
He added: “We will not have a single moment to relax until the opening matches in all 12 cities are played . . . Hardly ever has a FIFA World Cup offered so many top class fixtures.
“This puts extra pressure on all of us and in particular our venue teams as all of them – and sorry if I keep repeating myself – must be perfect.”
Valcke’s perception of “growing excitement around Brazil” contradicted some media reports which claimed a surprising lack of anticipation.
But he assessed that “World Cup fever [is] starting to grip Brazilians and the millions of fans around the globe.”
Valcke will not be in Sao Paulo on Sunday for the final test of the Arena Itaquera – Corinthians v Botafogo – which is due to stage the Opening Match on June 12. He is leaving that to “our operational experts” while he thinks and plans ahead to FIFA Congress back in Sao Paulo on June 10 and 11.