FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke visited the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro, according to Felippe Costa of GLOBO ESPORTE. Valcke was informed that the stadium is now 80% finished. When he was asked if he was confident that the stadium would be finished on schedule he said, "Rio has no option but to be ready" (GLOBO ESPORTE, 11/26). REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported FIFA also told Brazil to "start worrying about the fans." Valcke said that "everything would be in order for the teams but that the supporters should not be overlooked, especially when it came to getting around the vast country." Valcke: "It's not about the officials, the teams or FIFA itself. We have charter flights and accommodation for them, we have to think about the fans, we need these fans supporting their teams." Valcke added that in some cases fans would have to be flown in and out of venues on the same day "because of a lack of hotel rooms." Valcke said, "We have one city, which I will not name, where there are 17,000 rooms and 45,000 seats in the stadium, so the only other solution would be to have three people in one bed" (REUTERS, 11/26). The BBC's Will Smale reported that Valcke also took the time to acknowledge that FIFA and the Brazilian football authorities now had a "much better relationship." Valcke said, ""But we have now moved from talking about the problems to talking about the solutions. We are able to find and answer the problems" (BBC, 11/26).
IS BRAZIL READY? In London, George Caulkin opined, "Brazil is ready; it has always been ready. Brazil and football are ready like a weapon, cocked and primed to assault the senses, a riot of colour, a rocket crash of noise, on the beaches, on the land, on the stricken, bleached grass." Caulkin continued, "No, of course Brazil is not ready; how can it be? Its national stadium may hold memories, but they’re cowering among cranes and bricklayers. The weather is sticky, crime is rife." Hotel rooms are scarce, "there is poverty, corruption, airport nightmares and delay." Caulkin added, "There is a third option; how the hell should I know if Brazil is ready for the World Cup? Why should it be, anyway? It’s 19 months away (LONDON TIMES, 11/27).
Caterer Elior has been "given the boot" at Champions League Brighton & Hove Albion stadium with rival Lindley Venue Catering stepping in as emergency caterers, according to Janie Stamford of CATERER AND HOTELKEEPER. Following complaints from fans, the caterer, operating under its stadia brand Azure, was ousted by the club’s bosses last week. Lindley has been "brought in at short notice" to take over on Saturday, in time for Saturday’s home game against League Championship club Bolton Wanders. Azure said that it was in talks with its lawyers about the possibility of "launching legal action" against the football club. Brighton & Hove Albion CEO Paul Barber said that, despite winning the Best Match Day Catering award at the Football Business Awards last month, Azure "had not met expectations" (CATERER AND HOTELKEEPER, 11/26).
In a partnership with the São Paulo government and Brasileiro club Corinthians, brewing company Ambev "will finance the temporary stands" for the Itaquerão stadium, according to Fabio Leite of FOLHA DE S. PAULO. With the partnership, Corinthians' stadium will go from 47,000 seats to 67,000 during the 2014 World Cup. For São Paulo to host the opening match of the tournament, FIFA demanded a minimum capacity of 60,000. Ambev "should sign a contract" with a temporary stand provider before the end of the year. Ambev board of directors co-Chair Victorio de Marchi said, "We are certain that with this financial support Corinthians' arena will meet the demands of FIFA" (FOLHA DE S. PAULO, 11/27). LANCE NET reported that the investment "is close to" R$35M ($16.8M), which is half of what the São Paulo government had originally estimated. Currently, the Itaquerão stadium is 55% done, and is scheduled to be finished between Sept. and Dec. '13 (LANCE NET, 11/27).
Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo said that the city will begin construction of a "world-class football stadium" for the capital’s Persija football club next year, according to Lenny Tristia Tambun of JAKARTA GLOBE. The Rp 1.05T ($109M) stadium will be constructed in BMW Park in Sunter, north Jakarta, and is "expected to near completion" in '14. The football club has been without its own stadium since its old Menteng location was demolished six years ago. Joko said, "We’ll begin preparations for the construction next year and expect to complete it in two years. It will be a world-class stadium." Joko said that the complex will be "constructed on a 6.6-hectare plot of land and is planned to include a park and a man-made lake." He added that the construction costs will be "spread across" the '13 and '14 city budgets. Joko said, "The stadium will be able to accommodate 50,000 people. We expect it to be an icon of Jakarta" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 11/26).
Around 5,000 Swedish football fans "descended upon the Råsunda stadium in northern Stockholm on Sunday to take home souvenirs before the grounds are officially demolished." They "turned up with screwdrivers, spades and even drills to claim a part" of the stadium for themselves after doors opened to the public at 2pm. Fans took home "chairs, fences and even patches of grass to keep as a memento from the arena," which opened in '37 and was home to the Swedish national team and Stockholm's AIK (THE LOCAL, 11/26). ... The Casey family, proprietors of the Rosepenna hotel & golf resort in County Donegal, Ireland "has acquired the neighbouring 370 property that was formerly the 36-hole St. Patrick's Golf Links. The Rosapenna owners have bought the property, and are "considering options to bring it back into play." Rumors suggest that architect Tom Doak -- who has already carried out some work at Rosapenna -- "may be involved." However, Rosapenna Dir of Golf Frank Casey Jr. said that "no decision had yet been taken" (GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTURE, 11/27).