Expectation is mounting with just 30 days now remaining before the start of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, which takes place on 15-30 June and features four world champions in Brazil, Spain, Italy and Uruguay, reigning Olympic champions Mexico, and Japan, Nigeria and Tahiti. 

A total of 640,635 tickets have been sold for the competition (76.23 per cent of the total) and will be available for fans to collect from 29 May at ticket collection centres across the country. And as the countdown to the big kick-off continues, the Management Board of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Organising Committee (LOC) held their last general meeting before the tournament in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.

On the agenda were the final preparations being made at the six FIFA Confederations Cup venues and the progress of construction work at the six other stadiums that will also be used at next year’s FIFA World Cup. Legal issues, IT infrastructures, transport, temporary facilities, accommodation and security were some of the other topics that came up for discussion.

“We are just 30 days away from the most important football tournament that our country has hosted since the 1950 World Cup,” said LOC Chairman Jose Maria Marin. “The Confederations Cup is much more than our big dress rehearsal for the World Cup. The Festival of Champions is a chance to show the world we can deliver an unforgettable tournament for the fans, participants and the media. The six host cities have done a great job in building their magnificent stadiums.”

Speaking the day after the conclusion of the latest tour of the FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup stadiums, which called in at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia, and the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said he was delighted with what he had seen:

“Brasilia is a spectacular stadium and the Maracana is unique. It is wonderful to think that in a very short space of time the stadiums will be full of fans watching great players in action. We’ve seen for ourselves that work is progressing well. We are on the right track.”

Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo, who also took part in the visits, praised the endeavour of the host cities:

“Thanks to our visits to the Maracana and the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia we can see just how much effort the host cities have put into getting the facilities ready and ensuring that the Confederations Cup meets the organisers’ expectations. We can now say that the FIFA Confederations Cup will be a success.

With a view to addressing last-minute planning issues and embarking on the final preparations for next month’s tournament, a final round of operational meetings will be held in the host cities. Chaired by the Brazilian Ministry of Sport, they will also be attended by representatives of the state governments, city councils and the LOC. The first of them will take place in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, with further meetings being held in Recife on 21 May, Fortaleza on 22 May, Salvador on 23 May, Belo Horizonte on 24 May and Brasilia on 28 May.

The LOC will also hold three more test events to ensure the stadiums in question are operational: the friendly between Nautico and Sporting-PT at the Arena Pernambuco on 22 May; the Brazilian league match between Santos and Flamengo at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha on May 26; and the Brazil-England friendly at the Maracana on June 2.

At the press conference that followed the executive meeting, LOC Management Board member Ronaldo announced the latest volunteer programme figures. In total 99,172 people applied to work at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, with 5,652 being selected to staff the tournament.

Three of the volunteers, Djalma dos Reis, Luiz Waddington and Guy Salvi, were in Rio de Janeiro to unveil the uniform they will wear during the Festival of Champions.

“Bebeto and I are part of the Local Organising Committee and we’re the first volunteers,” said Ronaldo. “That’s why I make such a point of praising the enthusiasm of these people and the vital role they have in the FIFA Confederations Cup.”

Final Brazil 2014 sponsor unveiled
Valcke also named Centauro, one of Latin America’s largest sports retail networks, as the latest and last official partner of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

“You can’t stage the FIFA World Cup without commercial partners,” he explained. “We don’t talk about sponsors any more. We talk about partners who work in complete cooperation with FIFA. With the arrival of Centauro, our sponsorship programme for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is now complete.”

Commenting on the announcement, Centauro and Grupo SBF CEO Sebastiao Vicente Bomfim Filho emphasised the importance of the partnership with FIFA:

“Centauro knows how passionate Brazilians are about football, and the sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup is a fantastic opportunity for us to be side by side with the fans. We want to be part of that excitement and play a key role in promoting the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup for our country.”