Ronaldo: A great tournament for Brazilian people
© AFP

Already boasting a star-studded line-up, the profile of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 was raised even further on Thursday when the names of the tournament’s six Host Cities were announced at a media briefing given by representatives of FIFA, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Organising Committee (LOC) and the Brazilian Government.

The venues in question are Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. Details of the sale of the 830,000 tickets that will be made available for the 16 matches were also revealed at the briefing, held at Sao Paulo’s Museu do Futebol.

An initial batch of tickets will go on sale online at FIFA.com on 3 December, two days after the draw for the group phase of the Festival of Champions takes place at the Anhembi, also in Sao Paulo.

Held between 15-30 June next year, the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 will feature the host nation and three other FIFA World Cup winners in the shape of Spain, Italy and Uruguay. Also lining up will be Mexico, Japan, Tahiti and the victors of the forthcoming AFC Africa Cup of Nations.

Following the announcements, the dignitaries took questions from the media. Here is what they had to say:

LOC President Jose Maria Marin:
“By taking this decision, we are revealing the impact that the event will have on each city’s economy and on the pride of their inhabitants. The competition will be held for the very first time in six cities in a single country, and for the first time also half of the stadiums to be used at the FIFA World Cup a year later will be handed over and tested at the Confederations Cup. Rather than choose the easiest path, we have opted for one that will bring benefits to most Brazilians and is the most suitable for the hosting of the two competitions. Brazil is known the world over as the home of football and thanks to everyone’s involvement it will show that it also has the know-how and the ability to organise a great World Cup. We are going to show that Brazil is not the country of the future but the country of the present.”

Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo:
“This announcement provides an official framework for the FIFA Confederations Cup and underscores the cooperation between FIFA, the LOC and the Brazilian state in ensuring the event is a success. I refer to the ‘Brazilian state’ because this is a partnership between the federal, state and municipal governments. In making this announcement we are showing our confidence in the successful construction of the stadiums. No one has a greater interest in ensuring the success of this World Cup than Brazil itself. FIFA has already held 19 World Cups and will organise many, many more in the future. We have already had the privilege once and we are about to have it again, which is vitally important for all of us. I would like to repeat that the Brazilian government will continue to make every effort in taking every necessary step in every area in order to meet the challenge of staging a perfect World Cup.”

LOC Management Board member Ronaldo Nazario de Lima:
“I would like to congratulate all the Host Cities for their selection for the FIFA Confederations Cup, an event I took part in once, in 1997. We won that tournament, beating Australia 6-0 in the final, in which I scored hat-trick and Romario another. It’s a competition that the players enjoy a lot, and it’s a chance for Brazil to stage a major event before the World Cup. In total there are going to be 12 world titles out there on the pitch, and it’s a great tournament for Brazilian people to come and watch, and also for them to show their hospitality and provide all the people who will visit us with an unforgettable experience.”

Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Sport Luis Fernandes:
Brazil has made great strides in terms of digital inclusion but there are still parts of the population, especially the elderly and those on low incomes, who are unable to access the internet on a regular basis. That is why we will be setting up public internet access points for the Confederations Cup at 7,600 state schools across Brazil as part of a joint project involving the ministries of education and sport. The project also involves a partnership with state education departments and the heads of the schools taking part. It’s a way of opening up the whole ticket-buying process.”

FIFA Marketing Director Thierry Weil:
“This is the first time that the FIFA Confederations Cup will be held in South America and that’s special. In general terms it’s a competition that attracts local people more than anyone, though we do find ourselves in a pretty unique position as this is very high-quality tournament featuring teams like Mexico, who usually take a large following with them wherever they go. Even so there will be at least 50,000 Category Four tickets reserved exclusively for Brazilian residents.”

FIFA Director of Communications and Public Affairs Walter de Gregorio:
“We are delighted to announce that two Host Cities will be delivering their stadiums within the initial timeframe, by the end of 2012: Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza. These are models for us. We have now reached a stage where there is no going back, and the deadlines are tight. We are happy with the solutions, though we remain concerned as we still don’t have the stadiums we were expecting. There is no Plan B, however, because we are certain that the stadiums will be ready by 15 April, which will give us the opportunity to carry out at least two test events at each one. We would not have made this announcement today if we did not believe that to be the case. Would we be more relaxed if all the stadiums were ready by December? Of course we would. We have to live with reality though, and assess the risks, the level of political commitment and the technical reports and come to this decision.”

Carlos de la Corte, the CEO of Arena, the company contracted by the LOC to monitor the building of the stadiums:
“From a technical viewpoint, the Arena and LOC teams can guarantee that the stadiums will be handed over in time for the test events by 15 April 2013. We both agree, however, that delays are not acceptable and that work will have to be carried out at the same time on the construction of the stadium and the temporary structures.”