March 5, 2014
Jack Bell – The New York Times, 3/4/2014
The 2014 World Cup begins on June 12, when Brazil plays Croatia in the opening match. Reporters and editors for The Times will count down to the start of the tournament each day with a short capsule of news and interesting tidbits.
Tim Cahill is certainly among the most traveled soccer players in the world.
As he gets ready for his third trip to the World Cup finals with Australia, Cahill was back in England preparing for an international friendly on Wednesday against Ecuador at a place he knows well — Millwall’s The Den.
March 4, 2014
Tim Vickery – BBC, 3/4/2014
“We’re working in conditions where the cement is not yet dry,” said Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke as preparations for the 2014 World Cup move towards the final straight.
The strain is showing on Valcke. Fifa wanted all 12 stadiums ready by December, to give plenty of time for test events. Sao Paulo, scene of the opening game, may not be handed over until May.
Curitiba got itself so far behind that there was a real danger of the city being cut from the schedule.
At a news conference a couple of weeks ago to announce that the city had been reprieved – “We’re going to trust Curitiba while also mistrusting it,” said Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo – Valcke cut a short-tempered figure.
March 3, 2014
Tales Azzoni – The Associated Press, 3/3/2014
World Cup organizers will mark 100 days to go on Tuesday with work still to be done on stadiums and infrastructure in the 12 host cities.
As national teams enter their final phase of preparations — Wednesday in the only date this year before mid-May that all players are available to national teams for exhibitions — the Brazilian government is trying to ensure the country will be prepared for the 32-nation tournament, which opens June 12. Brazil had nearly seven years to prepare after winning the bid in 2007.
There are four stadiums still under construction, and work outside many venues is far from over. Airports likely won’t have all the work completed, and many urban projects initially expected to be ready for the World Cup won’t be finished until after the event.
February 27, 2014
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, 2/27/2014
Jeane Tomas scraped all her money together to build a house where she could raise her son. She’d been renting in the favela, or shanty town, of Vila Harmonia and wanted to put down roots in the community where she lived when her child was born.
The house went up — only to quickly come down.
“There is this frustration to have worked so hard, dreamed so much to leave everything behind,” she said.
Now that the Winter Olympics in Sochi are over attention will be turning to Brazil, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
February 27, 2014
Riot police in Rio de Janeiro have undergone training in crowd control ahead of the Brazil football World Cup.
The exercise involved the military police, with 50 of them playing the part of unruly protesters.
A helicopter monitored the “march” next to Rio’s Sambadrome in order to inform the actions of agents on the ground.
After fresh violent street unrest, the Brazilian government recently announced plans to deploy up to 170,000 security personnel during the World Cup.
February 25, 2014
Adidas on Tuesday acceded to a request from Brazil’s tourism board, which said the sporting goods maker should stop selling two T-shirts it marketed ahead of this year’s World Cup because they encourage sexual tourism.
One shirt shows a bikini-clad woman with open arms on a sunny Rio de Janeiro beach under the word-play “Looking to Score.” The other has an “I love Brazil” heart resembling the upside-down buttocks of a woman wearing a thong bikini bottom.
Adidas said the shirts would not be sold anymore, adding in a statement that they were from a limited edition that was only on sale in the United States.
February 25, 2014
Joe Leahy – The Financial Times, 2/24/2014
For weeks workers at São Paulo’s Itaquerao stadium have been clearing up the damage from a deadly construction accident in November. A giant roof girder crashed through a wall of the unfinished 68,000-seat arena, killing two labourers and casting a pall over Brazil’s preparations for this year’s football World Cup.
“People working in there say it won’t be ready in time for the World Cup,” says Paulo Arminio, who sells snacks to construction workers from a van outside the venue and who witnessed the accident.
The government and Fifa, football’s global governing body, insist the stadium will be ready for the world’s most popular sporting event, which begins in June.
February 24, 2014
Bank windows were smashed and fires started in Sao Paulo in a rally against World Cup expenditure, which has exceeded $11 billion. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades, making hundreds of arrests.
Almost a thousand people peacefully took to the streets on Saturday in the south-eastern city to express their discontent over the high government expenditure on the World Cup, which Brazil is going to host in four months.
“There will be no Cup!” and “Cup for the rich, scraps for the poor!” protesters chanted according to AFP.
February 21, 2014
Tarqi Panja – Bloomberg, 2/20/2014
The threat of mass public protests returning to Brazil’s streets during soccer’s World Cup this year won’t push the sport’s governing body into hiding, FIFA’s director of security said.
Brazil’s biggest protests in a generation erupted last June during the Confederations Cup, a warm-up event for the World Cup, which has become a totem for opposition groups. They’ve seized on the event to complain about a range of issues including the amount of money being spent on sports in a country with poor health and education funding.
Protests initially sparked by a rise in bus fares have continued sporadically since then, with demonstrators brandishing anti-FIFA insignia and chanting against the Zurich-based organization. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets near all the Confederations Cup venues.
February 19, 2014
Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 2/18/2014
Brazil received a World Cup boost when Fifa declared that the Curitiba stadium is back on course for completion before the first of its four matches on 16 June.
The announcement lifts one of the biggest concerns facing the tournament organisers, who may have had to reimburse tickets, flights and hotels for teams and fans if the games were moved.
The national sigh of relief was almost palpable after the Fifa assessor Charles Botta judged that sufficient progress has been made in the past month, but football’s governing body warned that there was little margin for error and urged the hosts not to slack off.