Brazilian Sports Minister Says World Cup Construction Must Be 'Accelerated'
Concerns over Brazil's readiness to host next summer's World Cup "have been upgraded after the country's sports minister admitted he was worried about delays to the construction of new stadiums," according to Simon Rice of the London INDEPENDENT. Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo warned that the venues "will not be delivered on time if construction is not accelerated." It was recently revealed that only one of the six stadiums -- the venue for the opening match in Sao Paulo -- "is on schedule to be completed by the end of this year." That is the deadline given by FIFA for the venues to be completed. Rebelo: "This must be seen as a warning. We cannot keep on the same rhythm, or we will not deliver them on time. It is possible to intensify. We are able to meet the deadlines, but it should be noted that it will require us to speed up the construction." Throwing more money at the tournament "would be hugely unpopular, with this summer's Confederations Cup, seen as a test event for next year's tournament, overshadowed by protests about corruption and overspending" (INDEPENDENT, 8/14). The AP's Tales Azzoni reported FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke reiterated recently that it is crucial to have all 12 World Cup stadiums ready and said that organizers "would increase monitoring of work at the venues." Valcke plans to visit Brazil next Monday "to inspect work in Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Manaus." Four of the stadiums are less than 80% completed -- in Curitiba, Manaus, Natal and Porto Alegre. Rebelo said, "It's possible to intensify the work now by adding more engineers and more workers. We couldn't do that in the earlier stages but now we can" (AP, 8/14).