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Volume 10 No. 22

Events and Attractions

The FA insisted that England’s Sunday friendly with Brazil will go ahead as planned "despite doubts over whether the Maracanã stadium will be issued with a safety certificate," according to Matt Hughes of the LONDON TIMES. A Brazilian judge issued an order Thursday suspending the "prestigious fixture." The decision can be overturned on Friday if the Rio State Legal Department "receives certain technical documents." Judge Adriana Costa dos Santos’ report cited concerns over "insufficient evidence of public safety at the Maracanã," which has been rebuilt at a cost of £286M ($435M) for the World Cup finals next year. The FA has received reassurances that the matter can be resolved and that England’s final match of the season will take place (LONDON TIMES, 5/31).

The hotel price situation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has been an issue of concern for the local organizing committee since World Cup LOC CEO Ricardo Trade told SBD Global in early April, "The [hotel] price situation is a challenge, but the government is trying to control this." The government is indeed trying to ensure hotel prices will not skyrocket. Brazilian Tourism Minister Gastão Dias Vieira told SBD Global, "It will be easy for any visitor to get a hotel room, as much as it is during any mega-event anywhere in the world (which means, book ahead and prepare to pay more than you would in low season). 24,982 new hotel bedrooms are being built in the host cities. In addition to that, cities which are more hotel-constrained, like Rio, will have a registry of alternative means, something that worked well in Copenhagen in 2009 and elsewhere, including Rio itself during the Rio +20 summit." Both the government and the local organizing committee count on the increased number of available rooms in order to keep prices in check. Trade said, "We are having a lot of new investments in the hotel industry here. We have a lot of people building new hotels. These kinds of things will make it easier for the tourists because there will be more available hotel rooms and this could lead to lower prices. However, it’s a challenge."

NO PRICE CONTROLS: It is an even bigger challenge because the Brazilian government has no real control over hotel prices. Even though Brazil is the host, the World Cup is a FIFA event, and as such FIFA and its hospitality partner are in control of the majority of hotel rooms in the host cities during the event. Vieira said, "FIFA has a partner, Match, which is entitled to 60% of the hotel bedrooms in the host cities during the games. Match will sell, and the Brazilian government has no control whatsoever over their prices. It’s a deal that every host country has to sign -- South Africa had to, and Germany before it." He added, "Having said that, the Ministry of Tourism has been encouraging the hotels to self-regulate: we know there is an impulse to increase prices beyond what’s reasonable, and everybody should also know that is bad for business, since we want the tourist to come back in the future. That is why the main hotel associations in the country have signed a dealwith the Ministry in January committing themselves to monitoring prices."

The Athletics Federation of India announced that the 20th Asian Athletics Championships "will be held in Pune from July 3-7." The continental event was to be held in Tamil Nadu originally, "but the state government had refused to host it on political grounds" (PTI , 5/30). ... The 2013 Asian Mountaineering & Skiing Sports Event on the Gangshika Mountain "kicks off Thursday" (XINHUA, 5/30). ... Philippines coach Chot Reyes said that Taiwan’s decision to expel the Philippines’ national basketball team from the Jones Cup after a Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead by Filipino coastguards in disputed waters is “a terrible setback” for the team’s Asian Championship preparations (GULF NEWS, 5/30). ... Tickets for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will go on sale Aug. 20. FIFA confirmed fans will have the chance to buy tickets from the organization's website during the first phase of sales. FIFA has said that "it expects around 3.3 million tickets to be available" for the 64-match tournament (London DAILY MAIL, 5/29).