The rhythm and pace of Salvador and its people in the final preparations for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ impressed FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, Bebeto and Ronaldo, Members of the Board of Administration of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), and Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo at the last leg of the first Host City Tour of 2013.
Arena Fonte Nova – modelled on the ground of its predecessor, with its currently installed lightweight metal roof – is receiving its final shapes. The hundreds of excited construction workers created a moving atmosphere during the visit, giving a glimpse of what fans and teams can expect in six months, when on 20 June the African participants will face Uruguay at the first FIFA Confederations Cup match in Salvador. At the first encounter, the men and women whose hard work, skill and creativity helped create the stadium will reconvene to be part of the historic moment when the FIFA World Cup returns to Brazil after 64 years.
Two days later, the Arena Nova will provide the stage for one of the most popular encounters in the ‘Festival of Champions’, when hosts Brazil face Italy. Following a detailed update presentation and the stadium visit, the delegation addressed the media. FIFA.com summarises the main statement:
Jérôme Valcke, FIFA Secretary General
On the tickets for the construction workers…
“The construction workers have created a beautiful arena with quite unique features. We have no doubts about its readiness and also send thanks to the construction workers. They really deserve to receive some tickets for the FIFA World Cup.”
On the stadium readiness…
“This is an amazing stadium inside the city. The construction is moving fast – only during the time we've been here, part of the roof was built, and I'm sure they'll finish this roof in half of the time. Congratulations to those who have worked on the roof! Among the 12 stadiums, if we have to grade it, Salvador would be among the top ones in the group.”
On the overall preparations…
“This morning we had a detailed meeting to talk about the details of the Host Cities’ preparations in general, from accommodation to transport. We are confident we'll have adequate transportation and security. All is well prepared for the FIFA Confederations Cup and let us not forget the Final Draw, which will also happen here in Bahia at Costa do Sauipe. Thanks to the outstanding support of the governor and mayor it will be a success.”
Among the 12 stadiums, if we have to grade it, Salvador would be among the top ones in the group.
General FIFA Confederations Cup stadiums readiness…
“Let me be clear: there is no change, the FIFA Confederations Cup stadiums are the same, no stadium is out. In Fortaleza, the main issue the other day was telecommunications. But we addressed this matter yesterday when we had a meeting with the Minister of Communications in Brasilia. We signed the Memorandum of Understanding guaranteeing all the telecommunication infrastructure system will be in place. That's a legacy for the city, for the whole country. Regarding other aspects in the other stadiums, we are monitoring everything. Everything will be working, we have the commitment of the government and local authorities.”
Aldo Rebelo, Sports Minister
“We had a good showing of how Salvador is getting ready – from the construction of this beautiful stadium to the urban mobility plans for fans and tourists. I am certain that Bahia will host a World Cup that will match the expectations of Brazil and the whole world.
Jacques Wagner, Govenor of Bahia
“This passion for football will improve the quality of the football in Bahia even more. Today I was even emotional for meeting Mr. Brasilino, who in 1947 worked at the construction of the original Fonte Nova stadium. We will organise a beautiful event here, we'll place Salvador in line with international culture and showbiz. The stadium will be completed by 28 February, with the first test match to be played between Bahia and Vitoria on 29 March."
ACM Neto, Mayor of Salvador
“The city is willing to participate in this joint effort to offer all conditions for Salvador to organise a beautiful FIFA World Cup. We will guarantee all commitments the city assumed. The FIFA World Cup is an important display and we want to showcase our best image. The city will be a partner in this endeavour."
Bebeto, LOC Member of the Board of Administration
"Yesterday, when I was arriving in Salvador, it was very emotional to see the stadium from the plane. If up there it was like this, imagine down here. I started my career as a player here. It's still the same thing, but now with a beautiful structure. I'll have to play here later! Congratulations to the workers, you guys have to be very proud for helping build a new stadium."
Ronaldo, LOC Member of the Board of Administration
"The first time I played at Fonte Nova it was a Cruzeiro-Bahia match, and I scored. When I got to the pitch, I rehearsed an imaginary kick remembering this time with Walter de Gregorio, FIFA Director of Communications, who is a frustrated player after we played for fun together! (laughs). It’s a pity that this stadium is only there after I stopped playing. Now I am helping as an administrator to organise the FIFA World Cup, but I feel I could also help on the pitch! (laughs)