Valcke Visits Maracanã Stadium, Tells Brazil It Needs To Focus On Fans
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).