May 6, 2013
Vincent Bevins – Los Angeles Times, 05/05/2013
After 2 1/2 years of renovations, Rio’s legendary Maracana soccer stadium reopened to much fanfare in late April. Brazilian legends including Ronaldo played in a test match before an audience composed mostly of the workers who rebuilt the 78,000-capacity temple to futebol that will be the flagship venue for next year’s World Cup.
The launch was deemed a success — and allowed officials to breathe a sigh of relief before they begin to worry again about Brazil’s preparations for two of the world’s biggest sporting events, the World Cup in 2014 and the Rio Olympics in 2016.
In the last month, a worker died during construction of a stadium in Sao Paulo, and two other stadiums, including Maracana, missed a deadline set by the international soccer organization, FIFA, to be ready for June’s Confederations Cup tournament.
April 11, 2013
The Guardian/Reuters, 04/11/2013
Brazil, the five-time World Cup winners and 2014 host, hit a new low in the FIFA rankings on Thursday as they dropped to 19th while Ecuador moved into the top 10 for the first time.
Brazil’s 4-0 win over Bolivia at the start of this month, their first since Luiz Felipe Scolari took over for a second stint in charge, failed to stop the rot after draws against Italy and Russia at the end of March.
Part of Brazil’s decline is because they are not involved in World Cup qualifiers and friendlies count for fewer points under the complicated calculation system.
January 14, 2013
AP/The Washington Post, 01/12/2013
Police in riot gear surrounded a settlement of indigenous people next to Rio de Janeiro’s storied Maracana stadium on Saturday, preparing to evict them as soon as an expected court order arrived.
The site commander, police Lt. Alex Melo, explained officers were “waiting for the order, and understand it can come at any time.”
But the order still had not arrived after a tense, daylong standoff. Frightened residents wondered why law enforcement came without an order to enter, and federal public defenders who have worked on the protracted legal battle over the space tried to mediate.
December 17, 2012
Brazil has inaugurated the first of 12 stadiums being built or extensively renovated to host the 2014 World Cup.
President Dilma Rousseff kicked a ball during the ceremony at the Castelao Arena in Fortaleza.
Football’s world governing body, Fifa, had repeatedly expressed concern over World Cup delays, including at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.
December 14, 2012
FIFA insists there should be no concerns about security at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in the wake of the violent scenes that marred the Copa Sudamericana final.
Sao Paulo were crowned champions of the continental competition on Wednesday after Argentinian side Tigre refused to take to the field for the second half of the second leg in Brazil,claiming they were threatened at gunpoint by security officials at the Estadio do Morumbi, which was overlooked as a host stadium for the World Cup.
Tigre’s refusal to restart the game followed angry confrontations between players from both clubs as they exited the field at half-time with Sao Paulo leading 2-0.
December 12, 2012
Mike Collett – Reuters, 12/12/12
Manaus, one of the 12 cities due to stage soccer World Cup matches in Brazil in 18 months, will be ready on time, despite fears expressed by FIFA, Brazil’s deputy sports minister Luis Fernandes said on Wednesday.
“There is no threat whatsoever to any of the 12 host cities not being ready in time,” Fernandes told international journalists. “We are confident that all the host cities are confirmed and there are no threats to any of them.”
Last month, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke expressed concern that Manaus would not be ready in time.
November 27, 2012
AP/The Washington Post, 11/27/2012
FIFA and Brazil World Cup organizers are trying to show nothing is affecting their partnership in preparing the country to host the event in 2014.
FIFA is wrapping up an inspection tour of the host cities and will oversee the draw on Saturday for next year’s Confederations Cup.
On Wednesday there’s a board meeting of the local committee.
November 26, 2012
Will Smale – BBC, 11/16/2012
All 12 stadiums across Brazil will be ready for the 2014 World Cup, Fifa’s general secretary has said.
But Jerome Valcke told the Soccerex convention in Rio that the vital wider infrastructure work was lagging behind.
Mr Valcke, overseeing progress on delivering the World Cup in Brazil, has highlighted a lack of hotels for the estimated 500,000 overseas visitors.
He also said that Fifa and the Brazilian football authorities now had a much better relationship.
Mr Valcke has angered Brazilian officials in the past by suggesting that the stadiums would not be ready.
Now he believes the risk of delay has moved on to such matters as the necessary number of hotels and vital improvements to airports and public transport.
November 15, 2012
Andrew Downie – Reuters, 11/15/2012
Brazilians like to say theirs is the country of soccer and it certainly has a strong claim for the titles of the world’s greatest player, greatest team and even the greatest stadium.
In the nation that will host the 2014 World Cup, however, fewer people go to see professional soccer matches than in China or the United States.
With attendances falling further this year, Brazilian clubs are using different strategies to try to fill their grounds but they are hampered by antiquated stadiums, a lack of respect for fans, television stations that show every game live and insufficient policing and security.
In the home of Pele, the legendary team that won the 1970 World Cup and Rio de Janeiro’s giant Maracana stadium, just about everyone has a team and an opinion. But few actually go to support their side.
November 8, 2012
Never before has a FIFA Confederations Cup boasted such a high-profile line-up.
The 2013 edition promises to be one of the most attractive tournaments ever from a sporting point of view, with four FIFA World Cup™ champions, including current holders Spain, as well as Italy, Uruguay and hosts Brazil – the latter making their record seventh consecutive appearance – all in the starting blocks.
Completing the line-up will be continental champions Mexico, Japan, newcomers Tahiti, as well as the yet to be confirmed African champions. The FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, to be held between 15 June and 30 June, will only increase anticipation for the following year’s FIFA World Cup.
Approximately 830,000 coveted tickets will be available for purchase. The first tickets will go on sale on 21 November 2012 when FIFA Partner Visa is helping to fuel fan excitement surrounding the event.
Visa card holders worldwide will have an exclusive opportunity to purchase a limited amount of tickets in a pre-sale which will run for ten days (21-30 November) prior to the Official Final Draw for the event. During this pre-sale phase, VISA card holders will be able to buy tickets on a first-come, first-served basis for categories 1-3.