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Volume 6 No. 212

People and Pop Culture

RICARDO TRADE is the CEO of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Local Organizing Committee. In his position, Trade works closely with FIFA to ensure a smooth execution of the tournament in Brazil. Trade has experience running a big sporting event as he was the operations director of 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro. Trade recently spoke with SBG Global about int'l criticism and construction delays leading up to this year's World Cup.

On negative media coverage ahead of the World Cup ...
Trade: It is like this before every major sporting event. Of course there is a natural concern from the media and the general public if everything will go well, and the journalists will ask about what is missing and not everything we have done so far. This is their role and we acknowledge that. However, we do see a strong negativism and try to invite people to put things in perspective. For example, in March Datafolha Institute published a research asking people how they believed the World Cup will be. Brazilian and international media wrote "to 54 percent, World Cup in Brazil will be at maximum average." Well, then you see the numbers. 30 percent said it will be average, 8 percent bad and 16 percent very bad. But 33 percent said it will be good and 13 percent that it will be great. So, my understanding is that "to 76 percent, World Cup in Brazil will be from average to great." This is just one example of how people prefer to see the glass half empty instead of looking at all the good things that the World Cup has already brought to Brazil. A research published by Fipe last month, for example, showed that $9.7 billion reais were added by the FIFA Confederations Cup to the Brazilian GDP last year, more than what is being invested to build the 12 stadiums for the World Cup. Unfortunately, we did not see that information in more than a couple national newspapers.

On FIFA's harsh criticism ...
Trade: The World Cup is FIFA’s flagship event and its main financial source by far. The World Cup income finances all other FIFA competitions and maintains and develops football across the globe. If you have something very special and important not only to you but to the whole world you will also take good care of it, right? FIFA’s concerns are perfectly understandable and they work hand in hand with the LOC and the host cities to deliver the best World Cup ever in Brazil this year. I would say FIFA has been actually quite understanding and our partnership became stronger with the challenges we face.

On the relationship between the LOC and the various Brazilian authorities ...
Trade: It is a very good relationship. We are true partners working for the same goal: to deliver a great World Cup in Brazil this year. Of course sometimes we disagree as in any relationship, but we always work to reach an understanding. And until now we actually did.

On the unfinished stadium in São Paulo and a plan B ...
Trade: There is no plan B, and we have full confidence that the stadium will be ready. Of course we always ask that the stadiums are delivered six months prior to the event so they can be tested accordingly, what ultimately guarantees the operational success of the event. Unfortunately not all of them were able to do that but we are working with the host cities to make sure test events are held and spectators find the service they expect in a FIFA World Cup match. In the case of São Paulo there was an unfortunate accident that delayed the delivery, but on May 17 we will operate the match Corinthians vs. Figueirense together with the host city and the club and continue to do the necessary tests and simulations to make sure that the operation of such an important match runs smoothly.

On infrastructure construction delays ...
Trade: Brazil is a developing country and the FIFA World Cup has catalyzed many improvements in urban mobility and airports that were long needed not for the event, but for the population. The Federal Government is working with the host cities to make sure all fans and media will have a pleasant stay in Brazil. In a few cases, they might not be able to deliver 100 percent of what was expected, but there will be no major impact for the event operation and to us and FIFA what is important is that those construction works are finally underway for the community.

German Touring Car Championship (DTM) team Mercedes HWA "has parted ways" with its Technical Dir and CEO GERHARD UNGAR following the team's "disappointing start" (SID, 5/8). ... Spanish football coach ALBERT ROCA has been named the head coach of El Salvador's national football team (MARCA, 5/8). ... The Rugby Football League named BLAKE SOLLY GM of elite competition of Super League. Solly will step down as RFL director of standards (RFL). ... BBC North's PAUL TYRRELL will advise Scottish League 1 Rangers "on its corporate communications." His interim role "will be to work with the club during a potentially very difficult few months." Before setting up his own consultancy, Tyrrell "led communications" for Liverpool, Everton and Man City (PROLIFIC NORTH, 5/8). ... Former Cricket New South Wales CEO DAVID GILBERT "is poised to return to sports administration as president of the Western Suburbs cricket club," the home of Test skipper MICHAEL CLARKE and fast bowler MITCHELL STARC. Gilbert, who represented Australia in nine Tests, "ended his 11-year reign as the head of CNSW in 2013 when he resigned after BRETT LEE publicly blamed him for the state's demise from its position as the powerhouse of domestic cricket" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/8). ... Australian Football League Brisbane Lions CEO MALCOLM HOLMES "has resigned" amid reports the club "is plummeting deeper into debt." Holmes "resigned following a meeting" on Thursday morning, "ending his four-year stint at the Lions" (AAP, 5/8).

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The Spanish Football League (LFP) announced that former Spanish second division side Deportivo La Coruña President AUGUSTO CÉSAR LENDOIRO has become an LFP ambassador. Lendoiro will represent the LFP at upcoming LFP World Challenge events in Indonesia, Malaysia and China (LFP). ... Former World Cup-winning coach DAV WHATMORE "will help Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland and United Arab Emirates prepare for next year's 50-over tournament in Australia and New Zealand." The 60-year-old Australian will work with the Int'l Cricket Council's high performance manager and each of the four teams "in an advisory and support role" (REUTERS, 5/8). Chelsea Manager
José Mourinho has been fined £10,000 by the FA for his "sarcastic appraisal of officials" after his club's loss to Sunderland (London GUARDIAN, 5/8).

STATESIDE BOUND: Footballer ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO "appears set to continue his playing career in the United States having reportedly held talks with Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy as well as gaining interest from DC United." Italian media reported Del Piero "is not yet interested in retiring or coaching and is eager to continue playing." His agent and brother, STEFANO, said that "there has been a large number of offers for the former Juventus captain but his preference is to play in the United States" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/9). ... The Chinese FA fined Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng and its player HAN RONGZE "after he tested positive for Clenbuterol" (GLOBAL TIMES, 5/8).

PA's MARTYN ZIEGLER: "This B-team plan looks like classic stalking horse to get the other measures through, home-grown player increase etc. If so, good tactics."

NBC's WILL BUXTON: "Massive controversy in the F1 paddock. Ferrari has replaced Lavazza coffee with insipid Nespresso. Devastating news."

London Times' TONY EVANS: "Classic. There will never be League 3. But what is disturbing is the FA is so misguided in it's aspirations"

London Daily Mirror's OLIVER HOLT: "Now we're saying England will be great again if these kids slug it out with Southend at Roots Hall. It's so half-cooked it's laughable"

London Times' TONY BARRETT: "I'd love the FA to focus on fixing kids & amateur football before looking at the pro game. Start at the bottom & work their way up."

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