2014 World Cup LOC CEO Ricardo Trade Talks Local Support, Stadium Delays And Security
With only two months left until the opening whistle of the FIFA Confederations Cup, the world looks at Brazil to judge its performance during the dress rehearsal for next year's World Cup. 2014 World Cup Local Organizing Committee CEO RICARDO TRADE recently spoke with SBD Global about the atmosphere on the streets in Brazil, delays in stadium construction, security concerns and the challenges of hosting major sporting events.
Q: In 2014, Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup for the fist time since 1950. What is the atmosphere on the streets in Brazil? How is the local support?
Ricardo Trade: Brazil will not only host the World Cup, we are also hosting the Olympics and a huge religious event in July. We will welcome the Pope together with a lot of Catholics here in Brazil. There is a huge atmosphere of joy and celebration. With those huge events over the next couple years, we can show our capacity to deliver great events, with great quality. Research proves that 86 percent of the people say it is wonderful to have the World Cup. A sign of success is also the volunteers program for which we received 130,000 applications. Another sign of success is the number of tickets we have sold for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June. We set a new record with more than 500,000 tickets already sold for the competition. I think it’s a wonderful celebration. We have six host cities and eight great national teams particitpating in the Confederations Cup and our expectations are high.
Q: Brazil will not only host the World Cup next year, but also the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016. How closely do you work with the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee?
Trade: We have an excellent relationship. We have a cooperation group between us that is approved by FIFA and the IOC. We discuss some important matters with each other such as the volunteers program. We will also use five of the 12 World Cup stadiums for the Olympics: Sao Paulo, Rio, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Brasilia. We are exchanging information regarding those stadiums with each other. We also have a group of experts working on this, and we work together on the observer program.
Q: The stadiums are behind schedule. Only three (four by now) out of the six stadiums that will be in use for the Confederations Cup in June are completed. What is the current state of the stadium construction? Are you concerned?
Trade: We have three stadiums ready for the Confederations Cup, and we will start using these stadiums for test events. On April 21, they will deliver the stadium in Brasilia. On April 27, they will deliver the stadium of Maracanã [in Rio de Janeiro], where we will have a match between the ‘Friends of Ronaldo’ and the ‘Friends of Bebeto’ with the construction workers in the stands to celebrate the completion of the stadium. There will also be test events and matches at the stadiums throughout May and two in June. We are comfortable to say that we have challenges regarding the stadiums. It’s not so easy to deliver them. We have some giant stadiums here like Maracanã and Brasilia, which makes it very difficult to deliver them on time, but they are doing an excellent job. They have about 6,000 people working in each of the stadiums to deliver on time. For the World Cup the idea is to have all the stadiums ready by Dec. 31. Because it’s better for us to use the stadiums during January, February, March and April, and then we could start the test events. Overall, I think we are in good shape. We have a system here to monitor and control the stadium-building process. We have a team of 25 experts and architects and engineers in the cities. We have two cameras in each stadium. We have a written monthly report with more than 106 pages regarding the stadium-building process. We are very confident.
Q: You just mentioned challenges especially with the Maracanã stadium in Rio and the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia. What are those challenges?
Trade: The challenges are that they are bigger than the others. They are not new constructions. They are not putting them down and then starting again. For example, at the Maracanã we have to respect the laws regarding its heritage. It also is a huge construction. It is a huge stadium with more than 70,000 people inside. And every stadium we remodel is a huge challenge for the engineers who are doing it. On this note, it is important to mention that we have some of the best building companies in the world here in Brazil. One of them is Odebrecht, which is building four stadiums for us, including the Maracanã.
Q: Security is always a big concern when it comes to major sporting events, especially in light of recent events such as the Boston Marathon bombing and stadium violence in England, Greece, Germany and Brazil. What security measures do you take to make sure the World Cup will be safe and enjoyable for fans, officials and players?
Trade: We are working together with the federal government on security, and we are very confident that they are making the adequate plans. I’m in discussion with them on a daily basis. We have the public security forces that are taking care of the surroundings of the stadiums. The defense ministry will take care of counter-terrorism and so on. We also will have stewards inside the stadium, which is a new concept for Brazil. I know around the world the majority of countries don’t use public security for inside the stadium but use stewards instead. The concept is good and we could use it for our country later on as well. And, of course, we will have public security teams inside the stadiums in case of an emergency. We are very confident when it comes to security because the federal government gave FIFA a guarantee five years ago that they will take care of it. The experiences we have had with huge events such as Carnival in Rio, Pan American Games, [Rio+20 Conference], were all successful and we had no security issues at all, which is very important.