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Volume 10 No. 22
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Hangin' With... Brazil World Cup Local Organizing Committee CEO Ricardo Trade

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.