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.
October 3, 2013
Arjun Sethi – USA Today, 10/02/2013
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is a homecoming of sorts. It marks the first time in more than 30 years that soccer’s greatest championship will return to South America, its birthplace and the site of the inaugural tournament. In 1930, the event fielded 13 teams from three continents. Next year, it will field 32 teams spanning five continents.
It also marks the first time that Brazil will be hosting the championship in more than six decades. For many, the timing couldn’t be better. The nation now boasts the seventh largest economy in the world and a successful tournament will christen Brazil’s arrival as a global economic power. Brazil is also the favorite to win, and in the process, dethrone Spain, the reigning Euro Cup and World Cup champion, a team that many consider the greatest ever assembled.
Yet, recent protests in Brazil, and the promise of more to follow, tell a starkly different story. While sparkling new stadiums begin to dot the Brazilian skyline, ordinary Brazilians are feeling the pinch. This summer, more than a million took to the streets to express a popular disenfranchisement that is now spreading across the country. Many protested the rising cost of public transportation; some excoriated the government for rampant corruption, which runs in the billions of dollars every year; and others lamented Brazil’s crumbling infrastructure, which was recently ranked 114th out of 148 countries by the World Economic Forum.
October 3, 2013
Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup suffered a setback Wednesday after a judge asked for the immediate suspension of construction at a host venue for the prestigious soccer tournament due to safety concerns.
The Arena de Baixada, also known as Estadio Joaquim Américo Guimarães, is in the city of Curitiba. The stadium is scheduled to host four group stage matches next June.
But Judge Lorena Colnago has suspended all work on the arena after declaring that workers were at serious risk of being injured.
September 17, 2013
Patricia Rey Mallen – International Business Times, 09/16/2013
The 2014 Soccer World Cup may take place in the soccer-crazed nation of Brazil, but it may end up going down in history as one of the most controversial editions of the tournament. Delays in the construction of stadiums, worries about safety, and even mass demonstrations against the expensive competition have had the country on the edge of its seat for the past few months. In a new chapter of the saga, the Brazilian government has advised that the prices of hotel rooms for the days of the competition could spike enormously.
The Brazilian Tourism Ministry issued a report on Monday asking the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the board of the Fórum de Operadores Hoteleiros do Brasil (Brazilian Hotel Owners Association) to make an effort to avoid a “stratospheric spike in prices” for the World Cup, reported news outlet El Economista Brasil.
The measure reflects the fear that Brazil may actually be harmed from hosting the World Cup. The ministry revealed last week that prices for hotels during the World Cup in June and July next year had spiked between 100 and 300 percent from normal levels, in all cities hosting games for the World Cup. In Salvador, the price increase reached 583 percent.
September 10, 2013
Samantha Pearson – The Financial Times, 09/09/2013
When Brazil took on North Korea in its opening match of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the Latin American country came to a standstill. Banks and businesses closed early, Brazil’s securities and exchange commission shut during the game and the streets were deserted as everyone raced to find the nearest television set.
As the football-obsessed nation prepares to host the World Cup next year for the first time since 1950, Brazil’s hotel owners are concerned about a repeat of what happened in 2010.
“We’re expecting around 600,000 visitors, but we’re also preparing for a general slowdown in the market because businesses will just stop,” says Enrico Fermi Torquato Fontes, head of Brazil’s hotel industry association, ABIH.
September 5, 2013
Tariq Panja – Bloomberg, 09/04/2013
One of the candidates for the International Olympic Committee’s presidency warned organizers of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro that concerns remain about the city’s ability to complete construction projects in time.
Richard Carrion, a Puerto Rican banker who heads the IOC’s finance body, said although he was “pleasantly surprised” by progress made in Brazil, there are still worries over the building of transport infrastructure, accommodation and venues. Carrion was part of an inspection team that visited Rio last week, the second time the group went this year.
“This time I left a lot more positive than last time but there are less than three years to go,” Carrion said in an interview in Buenos Aires. “The clock is ticking.”