May 27, 2014
Vanessa Barbara – The New York Times, 5/26/2014
By now, Brazil should probably have been grounded for life, without video games or dessert.
Last month, a vice president of the International Olympic Committee, John Coates, said that Rio de Janeiro’s preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics were the worst he had ever seen.
Before that, Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA — the Federation of International Football Associations — claimed that Brazil was further behind in its preparations for this summer’s World Cup than any previous host nation, even though it had had seven full years to prepare. Then, in March, FIFA’s secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, declared we could risk being “the worst organizers” of the “worst event.” He had previously said that Brazil needed “a kick up the backside.”
Well, that was harsh. Brazilians, long treated as obedient children on the world stage, have always submitted to the superior wisdom of foreign authorities. Fifty years ago, after President João Goulart was deposed by a right-wing military coup, the American presence in our political scene was so conspicuous that a humorist announced a mock-campaign for the United States ambassador: “Enough of middlemen — Lincoln Gordon for president!”
April 21, 2014
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 4/17/2014
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
We’re about to hear why sports is not always just a game. Brazil is the spiritual home of soccer, and this summer, the country’s hosting soccer’s biggest tournament. So, what happens if Brazil loses? Here’s NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Imagine the moment: the crowds are cheering, the stadium – soccer’s most iconic, the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro – is packed. The world is watching on flickering screens everywhere. It’s the final, when all of the money, all of the hard work is finally going to pay off for Brazil – except it doesn’t. Brazil doesn’t win the World Cup. Stay with me. There’s a reason for this thought experiment, because history.
MARCELO BARRETO: In 1950, when Brazil lost the World Cup, that was a real tragedy. Some very serious sociologists believed that was the defining moment of Brazilian society.
April 7, 2014
Brad Haynes & Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 4/7/2014
With less than 10 weeks until the start of the World Cup, work on crucial new airport terminals has fallen behind in most of the dozen Brazilian host cities, heightening the risk of overcrowding and confusion during the tournament.
A temporary canvas terminal will be used instead of a planned airport expansion to receive fans in Fortaleza, which will host six matches including Brazil’s game against Mexico and a quarter-final. Officials are already preparing alternatives for other cities.
“Other airports have not said anything yet, but they will probably have to come up with contingencies,” said Carlos Ozores, a principal at aviation consultancy ICF International who has consulted for Brazilian airlines and airport operators.
December 17, 2013
Matthew Cowley & Rogerio Jelmayer – Wall Street Journal, 12/16/2013
Some construction work on a World Cup stadium in the heart of the Amazon that will host the U.S. soccer team next year partially restarted on Monday after a two-day suspension following a death at the site on Saturday.
The accident dealt another blow to the country’s efforts to complete stadiums in time for the world’s most-watched sports tournament, which will be held in June and July. It has again brought into focus questions about safety at World Cup construction sites following two deaths at the Arena Corinthians stadium under construction in São Paulo on Nov. 27.
Brazil has yet to deliver six of the 12 stadiums that will be used in the 2014 World Cup. All six were scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, but the recent accidents mean some will be delayed beyond that. There are doubts too about stadiums in the southern city of Curitiba and the center-west city of Cuiabá.
December 16, 2013
A construction worker in Brazil died early Saturday after falling off the roof of the World Cup stadium in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
Five workers have died on construction sites of World Cup stadiums under construction in Brazil, hosts of next year’s international soccer tournament.
The worker, identified as Marcleudo de Melo Ferreira, fell 35 meters from the roofing structure and was rushed to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.
December 9, 2013
The Guardian, 12/09/2013
A tiny figure in minuscule white shorts and a pink strapless top leans against a metal fence outside a school in Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará state, north-east Brazil.
She has gloss-coated lips, and her yellow headband, holding back long hair, glows in the lamplight along Juscelino Kubitschek Avenue, which connects the city to the Castelão arena, one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup. A car pulls up. The girl climbs in.
This is a common scene around the stadium in Fortaleza, considered Brazil’s child prostitution capital and a magnet for sex tourism, according to local authorities.
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.
October 29, 2013
Patricia Rey Mellen – International Business Times, 10/28/2013
In the latest episode of the 2014 World Cup saga, Brazilian prosecutors are seeking an injunction to block the use of public funds for temporary infrastructure at World Cup stadiums located throughout Brazil. Structures like tents, cabling and communication equipment for broadcasters offer no long-term benefit to society, the prosecutors argue, and therefore they should be paid by the Fédération Internationale of Football Associations, the world soccer governing body.
If successful, the injunction could save Brazil almost 1.2 billion reals ($540 million) in taxpayer money, according to the statement released on Friday by the Procuradoria Geral da República (public prosecutor’s office, or PGR, the equivalent of the U.S. attorney general). Brazil is not served by these expenditures for a private event, they argue, saying: “What is the public interest in paying for these services, if FIFA will be the only holder of … [their] rights and sells them at millionaire prices?”
Brazil is spending about $3.5 billion to build or refurbish 12 stadiums for the tournament, which many Brazilians think should have been spent on other things, like health care or education. The public outrage propelled many to the streets in June and July, leading to the largest public demonstrations Brazil has ever seen.
October 7, 2013
Tales Azzoni – The Miami Herald, 10/07/2013
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke began his latest inspection tour of World Cup host cities Monday amid uncertainty about whether Brazil will be able to deliver the final six stadiums by the December deadline established by FIFA.
Valcke is visiting the southern city of Porto Alegre and will then move to the wetlands city of Cuiaba, where local organizers are still trying to finalize a bidding process for the seats at the new stadium.
There were problems in the southern city of Curitiba, too, where construction was halted because of workers’ safety concerns.
October 4, 2013
Tales Azzoni – Miami Herald, 10/04/2013
While the goalposts were being installed at the stadium which will host the World Cup opener in Sao Paulo, organizers in the wetlands city of Cuiaba were still trying to find a supplier for the seats for their venue.
While grass was being planted at the pitch in the jungle city of Manaus, organizers in the southern city of Curitiba were looking to overturn a judge’s order that halted their stadium construction because of workers’ safety concerns.
With less than three months to go before the December deadline established by FIFA for the delivery of the 12 World Cup stadiums, Brazil is working at full steam to have all venues ready in time. Local organizers are saying they will make it, but some recent setbacks have prompted reason for concern.