The first post-FIFA Confederations Cup stadium inspection tour drew to a close in Manaus on Tuesday. The delegation made up of members of FIFA, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the Brazilian Ministry of Sport visited the Arena Amazonia, which will host four 2014 FIFA World Cup™ fixtures next year.
This was followed by a meeting at the Amazonas state government headquarters and an encounter with underprivileged young people from the Manaus area who are part of a free English teaching initiative. The delegation left the state capital with the guarantee that the stadium will be delivered on schedule in December.
“Manaus and Amazonas state should be congratulated. The Arena Amazonia is a project that fits perfectly with a city that is at the heart of the world's biggest forest. We are content knowing that it will be delivered on time, as we have always stressed, so the stadium can enjoy a great FIFA World Cup next year,” said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.
The morning began at the Arena Amazonia, where the delegation was welcomed in truly enthusiastic style by those working on the stadium. It was a scene that was repeated in the afternoon, this time by hundreds of high school students from the Greater Manaus area, who gave the group a warm welcome at a school in the Iranduba district.
Bebeto and Ronaldo, who are both members of the LOC Board and FIFA World Cup ambassadors, proved extremely popular with the crowds.
“I’m certain that Manaus will give visitors a great welcome and be a wonderful World Cup host city,” said Bebeto.
The duo, along with the FIFA secretary general, Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo, Amazonas State Governor Omar Aziz and Manaus Deputy Mayor Hissa Abrahao, received gifts from students involved in a teaching project for underprivileged young people from the Greater Manaus area called Amazonas Bilíngue (Bilingual Amazonas).
Participants in the Pronatec Copa professional training project, provided in partnership with the local council in Manaus, also furnished the visitors with presents.
“These projects are really important for us to welcome visitors and those taking part in the FIFA World Cup next year. Learning another language is now an opportunity that is no longer restricted to those able to pay for private courses,” said Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo.
The school also hosted a symbolic presentation of FIFA World Cup tickets to two workers representing everyone involved in the construction of the Arena Amazonia. Football's governing body will give tickets to workers at the 12 stadiums, enabling them to watch a FIFA World Cup match at the arenas they have helped to build.
The committee returned to Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday after visiting Sao Paulo and Curitiba on Monday. On Thursday, representatives from FIFA, the LOC and the Ministry of Sport will come together once again for an LOC board meeting at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.