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Volume 6 No. 213


The construction for the 2014 Sochi Olympics "has been hampered by incompetence, inefficiency and corruption," and the preparations for the 2018 World Cup "are headed for the same problems," according to D. Garrison Golubock of the MOSCOW TIMES. Dmitry Bush is a partner at the Arena Project Institute, a niche architectural firm that is currently working on the design of the central Olympic stadium and the ice palace for figure- and speed-skating in Sochi. His firm "has also been contracted to design three soccer stadiums" for the 2018 World Cup. Bush, explaining how he came to create his own firm, said, "Today, it is practically impossible to organize the design of a unique, large-span, complex object through government structures." Arena "was founded a little more than a year ago when Bush left Mosproekt Institute, a government construction firm where he worked as deputy director and led a design workshop." He "found the complex legal framework of the state-owned corporation to be a hindrance." Asked what advice he had for foreign companies hoping to break into the Russian construction and design markets, Bush "was quick to emphasize the differences between architectural firms and construction firms." Bush also noted that "he had worked with several foreign architectural firms, whose biggest challenge had simply been adapting to the Russian style of relationships with colleagues and clients." However, Bush said that it "was practically impossible for construction firms to break into the Russian market, because 'a foreign general contractor cannot win a Russian tender.'" Apart from the difficulties faced by foreign firms, Bush said that companies "like his were faced with significant problems due to the ignorance of the ordering customer, who rarely has the expertise to understand the specifics of building a complex facility like a stadium" (MOSCOW TIMES, 12/17).

FIFA World Cup Brazil Office Managing Dir Ron Del Mont "confirmed that 'in no way' has FIFA asked for relaxed security on construction in an effort to meet stadiums' deadlines," according to the EFE. Del Mont: "Rushing is bad not only for the security of the workers, but also for the fans." Brazil Sports Vice-Minister Luis Fernandes "ruled out that a fatal accident in Manaus on Sunday was the result of pressure to complete construction." Fernandes said, "The companies that are building the stadiums are global companies with a lot of experience. The accidents are not related to inexperience or failure to meet safety regulations." Fernandes added that Brazil has "labor laws that guarantee strong legal protection to workers and carry strong punishments for businesses that do not meet safety regulations" (EFE, 12/17).

PROTESTORS EVACUATED: LA AFICION reported Rio de Janeiro's Military Police on Monday evacuated a building next to the Maracana stadium that was "occupied by indigenous citizens and demonstrators." During the operation, "25 people were arrested for refusing to leave the building." Brazil's regional government "indicated that the invaded building was one of four that the state of Rio de Janeiro bought to build temporary structures that will be complementary to the stadium during the World Cup and later converted into a Football Museum" (LA AFICION, 12/16).

The group behind a World Cup stadium that has "fallen months behind schedule" and is 44% over budget blamed "Brazilian bureaucracy" for its woes, according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Official data indicates that progress at the "Arena da Baixada in the southern state of Parana has been the slowest among the six arenas still under construction" for next year's football showpiece. When asked why the Arena da Baixada "remained a building site and why the price to remodel it grew" to 265M reais ($114.3M) from 184M reais in '10, Brazilian side Atlético Paranaense Exec Marketing Dir Mauro Holzmann said, "Brazilian bureaucracy. We expected a loan from the state development bank in June 2012 and it ended up being seven months late." The funding delay "meant the project, backed by Atlético Paranaense and municipal and state governments, was a casualty of inflation." Adding to the delay, "the original design failed to include the minimum amount of media and VIP seating" required by FIFA (BLOOMBERG, 12/16).

MANAUS WORKERS STRIKE: The BBC reported construction workers at the World Cup football stadium in Manaus have "gone on strike demanding better safety conditions." The builders' union "took the action after a worker fell" to his death on Saturday. The workers at Arena Amazonia said that "pressure to finish the construction is affecting their safety." Union leaders suggested that the "industrial action could be ended on Tuesday but work at high sectors of the stadium remains banned by a court order" (BBC, 12/16).

Mexican state of Guanajuato Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez said that "he is already considering building a new stadium" for Liga MX side León, which recently won the Liga MX championship, according to NOTIMEX. León's "success has opened the possibility of a new stadium." Márquez said that "a decision will not be made" until '14. Márquez said, "Congratulations and I hope that this [championship] will also be compensated. We have to talk with [Mexican billionaire and León owner Carlos] Slim and see what projects could happen for the team, and above all, for the fans. We will be talking next year." After saying that he "considers himself a León fan, Márquez said that he will recognize the efforts of all 22 players." Guanajuato City Mayor Bárbara Botello Santibáñez indicated that "the possibility of a new stadium will have to be considered to avoid fans being left out" (NOTIMEX, 12/17).