December 5, 2013
Brazil has admitted all its stadiums still under construction for the 2014 football World Cup will not be ready by Fifa’s original 31 December deadline.
Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said the six venues – in Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Cuiaba, Manaus and Natal – would be finished in January.
Construction problems – coupled with public protests about the money being spent – have delayed the preparations.
Fifa, football’s ruling body, agreed this week to extend its deadline.
December 5, 2013
Neil Ashton – Daily Mail, 12/04/2013
Brazil’s sports minister Aldo Rebelo sparked a World Cup crime alert on Wednesday by admitting the country cannot cope with its cases of rape, robbery and murder.
Despite the glamour of Brazil’s sandy beaches and caipirinha culture, there is a darker side to the country that threatens to be exposed during the tournament.
Rio de Janeiro’s crime rate has been rated ‘critical’ for the past 25 years and Brazil’s major cities were paralysed by violent protests during the summer Confederations Cup. Around 40,000 people a year are murdered in Brazil and the state of Rio records around 16 sexual assaults a day. Between January and June last year, it is alleged nearly 5,300 people were raped in the country.
December 5, 2013
Stephen Wilson – Associated Press, 12/04/2013
Warning that Brazil has “no time to lose,” new International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will travel soon to Rio de Janeiro to check on the troubled preparations for the 2016 Games.
Bach said Wednesday he will go to Brazil in “the next couple of months” to encourage the organizers and government to work together to make sure the first Olympics in South America are successful.
“The purpose is to ensure seamless cooperation between all stakeholders and to tell the Brazilian authorities the IOC is fully committed to the success of these games,” Bach said in a conference call with reporters. “I want to make this statement in person to demonstrate that the new president is behind these Olympic Games.”
December 5, 2013
Associated Press, 12/04/2013
The Brazilian government has brushed aside the importance of more delays in completing 2014 World Cup stadiums, saying that missing FIFA’s deadline will not affect the country’s ability to successfully host next year’s tournament.
A day after FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said three stadiums would not be ready in time for the Dec. 31 deadline, Brazilian officials said they actually plan to deliver all six remaining venues after that date.
They claim only three are delayed, with the other three being handed over after the expected date only because of problems accommodating the schedule of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who wants to be present for the ceremonies.
December 4, 2013
Stephen Wade, Associated Press, 12/03/2013
Few things could damage the image of Brazil more than violent street protests during the World Cup.
Demonstrations during June’s Confederations Cup — the World Cup warm-up — caught Brazil’s police and military police by surprise. There will be no surprises this time, on either side.
Brazil’s police are getting training from their French counterparts, and followers of the Black Bloc anarchist movement have announced plans for demonstrations, starting with the opening World Cup match on June 12 in Sao Paulo. A Black Bloc Facebook page lists demonstrations for June 13 in Natal, Salvador and Cuiaba, followed by six more protests in six cities on June 14 and 15. And more are promised.
December 4, 2013
Paulo Winterstein – Wall Street Journal, 12/03/2013
Despite refurbishing and construction delays, including three fatal accidents, the 12 stadiums Brazil intends to employ as venues for the 2014 soccer World Cup will be ready in time for the June 12 kickoff, officials of the sport’s global governing body said Tuesday.
“We are not in crisis mode,” said Jerome Valcke, secretary-general of the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, at a news conference in the northeastern Brazilian resort of Costa do Sauipe, where FIFA will hold a drawing on Friday for league play in the eight World Cup groups.
Brazil’s government has pledged to deliver all 12 stadiums, some renovated and some brand new, by December 31. So far, only six are ready.
December 3, 2013
Sam Borden- The New York Times, 12/02/2013
While all 32 teams that have qualified for the World Cup anxiously await this week’s draw to determine the groups for next year’s tournament, nowhere is the pressure as great as in Brazil.
Careers for Brazil’s players, coaches and team officials hinge on whether the team lifts the trophy. Concerns about the astronomical costs of hosting the World Cup may be, at least temporarily, assuaged by victory. Even the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, has a stake — political analysts believe that if Brazil wins, Rousseff may coast to re-election.
It is a load to bear, and at the center of it all is Brazil’s coach, Luis Felipe Scolari, an affable barrel of a man known as Big Phil. So far, he has embraced the pressure with his two sizable hands.
December 2, 2013
Rob Walker – The Guardian, 12/02/2013
It’s easy to get a sense of how the locals in Natal – one of the venues for next year’s football World Cup – feel about the tournament. “What’s the new stadium like?” I ask a customs officer, in the arrivals hall of the city’s airport. “It must be almost built by now.”
The officer stamps my passport and looks up. “A spacecraft,” she says, deadpan. “It’s like a spacecraft has crash-landed in the middle of our town.”
Few have heard of Natal, in Brazil’s far north-east tip. Think Rio de Janeiro without the bikinis and beach joggers. But if it is unknown now, it won’t be by June 2014: Natal is one of 12 host cities for next summer’s tournament. Rumour has it that England could be playing here in the group stages.
The Arena das Dunas – named after the sand dunes on the nearby coast – looms into view on the drive from the airport.
November 25, 2013
Raul Gallegos – Bloomberg, 11/22/2013
To understand Brazil’s economic woes, one should consider how politics has ruined the country’s most venerated sport.
It’s no secret that the economics of the Brazilian soccer world are dysfunctional. For the most part, teams are poorly run, member-controlled organizations with histories of financial mismanagement, run by overpaid managers with little accountability. For years, soccer clubs stopped paying taxes and evaded social security obligations. And the government often rescued them from financial failure — as it may be about to do again.
According to an October piece in the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Brazil’s soccer clubs have run up a 4.8 billion reais ($2.1 billion) tab with the federal government. Approximately 36 percent of the total debt owed by clubs is due in the short term, according to an Oct. 25 analysis by consulting firm Pluri Consultoria. Soccer teams are heavily leveraged, and their profitability (the average profitability of the top 25 teams is 0.7 percent of annual sales) is almost nonexistent. “It is possible to say, with no shadow of a doubt, that soccer clubs would not be standing” if they operated as companies, Pluri warned.