FIFA Secretary General Says World Cup Stadium Delays Are Creating Problems
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said on Saturday that FIFA has been "left with a huge challenge following Brazilian delays in building stadiums for the 2014 World Cup," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. Valcke said, "We are working in conditions where the cement is not even dry. ... The ball starts rolling on June 12 until July 13 and I think things will work well then but it is also true that whenever you receive something late, it becomes a challenge to make it ready in time." Two years ago this weekend "Valcke delivered his famous 'Brazil needs a kick up the backside' line which incensed the local organizing committee, but certainly had something of the desired impact." Asked if the Brazilians "now needed another kick up the backside, Valcke deflected the question." Valcke said, "Ask me that when the World Cup is over" (REUTERS, 3/1).
SAO PAULO STADIUM UPDATE: The AP reported the Sao Paulo stadium "which hosts the opening match of the World Cup will not be finished until less than four weeks before Brazil plays Croatia on June 12." FIFA had "hoped to get the Itaquerao stadium in mid-April, following delays when a crane collapsed in November killing two workers" (AP, 3/2).
SAKE, SHOCHU MARKETING: KYODO reported Tokyo-based liquor distributor Hasegawasaketen Inc. is "planning to hold events at the World Cup" to increase "overseas sales of sake and 'shochu' (distilled spirits) during the soccer extravaganza." The distributor said that it will "organize events in Sao Paulo that month to get foreigners more acquainted with Japan's rice wine, shochu and food culture" (KYODO, 3/2).