In his column on *FIFA.com, FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke discusses his recent trip to Brazil in which he also met with the new Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo to discuss the 2014 Bill.*
Prezados amigos do futebol,
Having just come back from a very productive trip to Brazil I am finally confident that we are on the right track and can soon close the chapter of this famous “2014 Bill”. This will be the conclusion of more than two years of jointly formed compromises in order to find a tailor-made solution for Brazil. These compromises take into account the objectives of Brazil, the applicable laws and the requirements of the FIFA World Cup - an event spanning 12 cities in a huge country; 32 team base camps; an anticipated 18,000 media representatives; more than three million spectators in the stadiums as well as millions of fans at the FIFA Fan Fests. Everybody understands that this therefore poses huge operational challenges and that the 2014 Bill is the foundation for the further steps.
My recent discussion with President Dilma Rousseff, the new Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo as well as Vice-President of the Commission for Constitution and Citizenship Vicente Candido made me confident that we have now achieved a common understanding on what is required to make the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2014 FIFA World Cup a resounding success. The focus of the work must now continue to be our collective efforts to make these commitments a reality and ensure that we provide the best stage for the teams and fans to enjoy two unforgettable competitions.
Let me say again that the general requirements asked by FIFA prior to Brazil’s appointment as hosts are the same as for the previous FIFA World Cups. We are not asking any more than we did from Germany or South Africa, nor what we will be asking of Russia and Qatar. The requirements are also not more than what the Brazilian government agreed to fulfil when they were awarded the event back in 2007 – a point spelled out by no less a figure than Brazil’s World Cup ambassador and football icon Pelé this week.
He said to Italian Sports News Service ANSA: "Brazilian law, as voted for by the sovereign people, must be respected, but it is also true that when we put ourselves forward to host the 2014 World Cup and we were awarded it, we made a commitment to accept the relevant rules imposed by FIFA, which override the national laws of the host countries. Therefore we can’t now place the blame on FIFA, because that which they are asking us to do was written down in black and white on the list of obligations to be fulfilled by the country chosen to organise the World Cup.''
The FIFA World Cup reaches nearly half of the world’s population, an audience that is unrivalled by any other sporting event. Just imagine the advertising budget that would normally have to be spent to gain the same level the exposure for Brazil and its host cities during the 31 days in June/July 2014.
We can’t now place the blame on FIFA, because that which they are asking us to do was written down in black and white on the list of obligations to be fulfilled by the country.
That said, one must consider that contrary to the Olympic Games, where the majority of costs for the organisation of the event are funded by the host country, the FIFA World Cup operation is fully funded privately. FIFA is investing more than 1.2 billion US dollars in organising the 2014 FIFA World Cup. There is no public money used to organise the competition side of the event. All investment by government and other local authorities are for general infrastructure and remain in Brazil for the benefit of Brazilians.
The staging of an event of the magnitude of the FIFA World Cup goes beyond the provision of world-class arenas. Key to success is the overall infrastructure such as public transport, airport capacities and accommodation facilities. We need to ensure that each fan has the chance to follow his/her team, has a great time and does not endure logistical nightmares during the FIFA World Cup – this applies to both Brazilian and international visitors. The excitement and welfare of football fans is the joint duty of Brazil and FIFA we have both to deliver over next 17 months, until the kick-off of the FIFA Confederations Cup on 15 June 2013.
There is no doubt that Brazil holds a special place in world football, constantly producing some of the greatest talents the game has ever seen. It is the home of the five-time world champions and whoever I speak to is dreaming of coming to Brazil in 2014.
Thousands of fans are looking forward to the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 and hope that their teams secure one of the 31 coveted berths. And, equally importantly, I am one of those fans too.