This year certainly proved to be significant in the build-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, featuring as it did the planning and carrying out of a whole series of projects related to the showpiece competition. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) now boasts a staff of 65 workers spanning various sectors, who have been charged with planning and bringing the event to fruition.

What's more, this year also saw the addition of a footballing superstar to the Management Board of the LOC. On 1 December, Ronaldo Nazario de Lima, the all-time top scorer at FIFA World Cup final tournaments, was brought into the fold and will be given a full say in the Board’s decision-making processes.

In terms of the timetable mapped out for preparing various key areas of the organisational process for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and FIFA Confederations Cup 2013, 2011 proved a decisive year as far as defining operational issues and bringing them into line with each other. One of the most important tools in this process was the announcement of the Match Schedule, which took place at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 20 October. The Host Cities for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 – Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro – were also unveiled at the same event, with two further cities (Recife and Salvador) conditionally approved.

With representatives of the Host Cities, the LOC and FIFA all working together, seminars and studies were carried out in a variety of fields. These included transport and traffic, playing surfaces, marketing, security, communications and volunteering, as well as a number of meetings designed to keep all parties up-to-date and on the same track.

Several of these areas of expertise were given a test run at the first official event in the build-up to Brazil 2014 – the Preliminary Draw – which was held in Rio de Janeiro’s Marina da Gloria on 30 July. Working parties from both the LOC and FIFA were involved in preparations for the eagerly anticipated Draw, which was hosted along international-class lines in terms of both organization and operational coordination.

In the field of security, for example, state-of-the-art technology was used, including movement sensors and a Command and Control Centre (CCC) with access to real-time imagery from strategically placed satellites and cameras. Security specialists felt the CCC model used was exemplary, and it will thus be put into place at Rio de Janeiro’s CCC in 2012, with the possibility of being introduced across the rest of Brazil at a later date.

Other events also enabled the practical and real-life application of specific operational activities, with the LOC organising and monitoring the performance of the private security firms covering Brazil’s June friendlies with the Netherlands and Romania – in Goiania and Sao Paulo respectively. Representatives of the LOC also took part in the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011, held between 8 and 18 December, and travelled to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™ in an observer capacity.

In 2011 we had the Preliminary Draw, an opportunity for the LOC’s teams to work together and prove how well Brazilians are able to organise and carry out FIFA World Cup events.

Ricardo Teixeira, LOC president

Decisive steps were also taken in the construction and renovation of the stadiums set to host matches at Brazil 2014 and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013. The appointed arenas are taking shape, with some already having the stands’ structure in place, others with the foundation phase completed or in progress, and still others at different phases of construction. The LOC constantly supervise the work taking place and back in January, at their headquarters in Rio, they unveiled a real-time monitoring system which uses 24 cameras: two at each stadium.

Yet the impact of the next FIFA World Cup will go far beyond the bounds of the 12 Host Cities. This year also saw four important stages – two inscription phases and two rounds of assessment – for the selection of potential National Team Training Centres (CTSs). The CTSs, which will be the bases for the 32 national sides set to take part at Brazil 2014, can be situated in the Host Cities or elsewhere and will be assessed in two main areas: accommodation and playing surface. A series of technical visits were carried out by teams sent by FIFA and the LOC.

At the present time, potential CTSs have been put forward in 24 different regions, which has seen preparations and the level of anticipation for the world finals spread across the country. Over 100 potential Official Training Pitches (COTs) were also inspected over the course of 2011. Indeed, by carrying out presentations and circulating information about the CTSs and COTs in a number of different cities, the LOC and FIFA thus ensured transparency and across-the-board access to the requirements of the selection process. Inspections will continue during 2012, while the 32 participating national teams will choose their venues in 2014.     

The location of the headquarters of the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) has also been decided, with three candidates vying for selection in 2011. Three candidate cities – Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro – handed in their bid proposals back in January, with the subsequent technical visits and detailed analyses of the proposals ending in the selection of Riocentre, in Rio de Janeiro, as the location for the IBC. This announcement was made during the second meeting of the FIFA/LOC Management Board, which was held on 28 May at the Home of FIFA in Switzerland.

Late in the year, the LOC also sent representatives to the international sports congress Aspire4Sport in the Qatari city of Doha, as well as the global football convention Soccerex in Rio. Both were held in November and had 2014 FIFA World Cup stands, supplying information to the participating countries and spreading awareness of the competition, Brazil and the Host Cities of the world’s biggest footballing spectacle.

“In 2011 we had the Preliminary Draw, an opportunity for the LOC’s teams to work together and prove how well Brazilians are able to organise and carry out FIFA World Cup events,” said LOC President Ricardo Teixeira. “Important decisions were also made. We had the Match Schedule, we learned about and helped conceive operational projects in the Host Cities and our planning was adjusted to suit each of them. That level of integration is fundamental.” 

Finally, in terms of the stage which the organisational process for Brazil 2014 finds itself, the LOC President was happy to put developments into context: “We’re in the midst of a key period and we need to focus on getting every detail right, as well as ensuring the projects in the different cities remain in line, both for 2014 and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013,” said Teixeira. “We’re all pulling together to make sure that Brazil puts on the best FIFA World Cup of recent times.”