Brazilian football fans and journalists have accused football authorities of "double standards" after reporting that conditions at Brazil's new football stadiums "have plummeted since the Confederations Cup ended and the arenas started holding Brazilian league matches," according to Andrew Downie of REUTERS. Media facilities "have been dismantled, roads to stadiums are clogged with traffic and high ticket prices have left seats empty, they say." Local radio commentator Rener Lopes said, "They took away the desks, the chairs, the Internet, everything, and we had to work with our equipment balanced on the roof of the substitutes' bench." Fan Andre Doria said, "There is one standard for FIFA and another for the Brazilian league." FIFA took control of the six arenas weeks before the tournament began and "installed its own facilities, including modern media centres." It "set up concession stands run by FIFA sponsors" such as Coca-Cola and "brought in hundreds of volunteers and stewards, as well as collaborating with local authorities to close roads around the venues to make access easier." Since the cup finished, the concession stands "have been replaced by shacks, the media centres have been removed and, with the roads open as normal, fans have to get to the ground through heavy traffic" (REUTERS, 7/23).
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has launched his new £6M ($9.2M) food revolution at Man City, "where he hopes to put a stop to the bland culture of stadium grub," according to Graeme Yorke of the London DAILY MAIL. Oliver has teamed up with U.S. catering giant Legends to provide City's new matchday food. Legends Chair Dave Checketts: "Sports fans have been mistreated for a long time. They have overpaid for inferior food and they have had poor service." The name of the project is "Fabulous Fanfayre," where around 700 catering staff will be employed on matchdays to "help serve the new food beneath the stands and in the corporate sections." The food will include "seven new gourmet pies, hotdogs, burgers and chips sprinkled with rosemary, all made with local produce" (DAILY MAIL, 7/23).
PERUSING THE MENU: In Manchester, John Scheerhout reported although Oliver is not a fan himself, a supporters’ favorite -- the chicken balti pie -- "stays on the menu but with a ‘Jamie twist,’ a bit more spice and heat." Oliver said to fans invited to taste the new menu, "Rest assured, I’m frightened enough of the fans not to take away their babies, for example the chicken balti pie." The prices have "not yet been set, although they are expected to be a few pence more than most of the food offered last season," but with "turbocharged flavour." Oliver chose City out of a number of Premier League clubs to launch his latest initiative, because the club was "ready" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 7/23).
London's Olympic Stadium, set to be the new home of EPL side West Ham, will also "serve as a new national base for athletics," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. Britain will hold London Diamond League meetings at the stadium during its summer, "while a new track will be built on the site to offer all-year-round facilities for local athletes and clubs." The stadium "will host the world athletics championships" in '17. UK Athletics CEO Niels de Vos said, "Today's agreement is a great result for athletics. We've seen how there is a huge public appetite for seeing athletics on the biggest stage." UK Athletics "has signed a 50-year agreement" to use the stadium in east London beginning in '16 when work to convert it for use for football "will be complete." It "applies in late June and July when there are no Premier League matches" (REUTERS, 7/23).
Welsh Rugby Union CEO Roger Lewis said the governing body "would be happy to host a European football final" at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, according to the BBC. Any formal bid would have to be made by the FA of Wales (FAW), with stadium owners WRU "offering support." Earlier in '13, the FAW "did register an interest in co-hosting" UEFA's 2020 European Championship in Cardiff. UEFA President Michel Platini's response "was not encouraging from a Welsh viewpoint" or on the broader subject of staging one of the major club finals in the Welsh capital. Platini: "There is not enough hotel rooms in the city, there is not enough space around for the hospitality." Lewis "is conscious of the issues," but points out that "as no firm approach has been made the two Welsh sporting bodies are not yet fully aware of what is required." Lewis: "We need to know what the criteria are going forward and when we receive those criteria then we can formulate the bid" (BBC, 7/23).