Two legendary figures in the history of Brazilian football got together in Rio de Janeiro on 16 December, at the headquarters of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Ronaldo Nazario de Lima and Romario Faria met with LOC President Ricardo Teixeira and also spoke with members of the assembled press.

The two former Brazil internationals both hold key roles in terms of the organisation of the next FIFA World Cup. Romario is the vice-president of the Committee for Tourism and Sport in the country’s Câmara dos Deputados (the lower chamber of Brazil’s National Congress), while on 1 December Ronaldo was appointed onto the LOC’s Management Board, where he joined Teixeira and an as-yet-undecided third individual.

When asked if he would accept said third place on the board, should he be offered the position, Romario said that “it would be an honour, but I need to see my current role through and so unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to accept”. The aim of the federal congressman’s visit to LOC headquarters was to gain a more in-depth understanding of the work being carried out on the road to Brazil 2014.

With Ronaldo and Teixeira at his side, Romario was shown around the LOC’s monitoring room, from where the organisation can supervise in real-time the work being carried out on the 12 stadiums set to host matches at the finals. “I was very happy to find out things that I didn’t know about before. I’m now much more aware of the responsibility the LOC has,” said O Baixinho, who also wished to use his visit to discover more about Ronaldo’s new role. “It wasn’t just me who wasn’t sure about that; the whole Congress felt the same. And today I found out exactly what he’s really going to do at the LOC. Ronaldo has a history, people need to respect that,” he added.

Insight from Ronaldo
O Fenômeno, for his part, took advantage of the opportunity to underline the transparency of the work being carried out by the LOC: “We want to make everything as transparent as possible and make ourselves accessible, not just to you [Romario] but to the whole Congress and everyone who wants to learn more about our work.

“We want Romario the critic, it’s important that he takes a critical view of us, that he’s hard on us, but he needs his criticisms to be in line with the responsibilities we hold,” continued Ronaldo. “We need to make it clear what are the responsibilities involved in each of our roles in this World Cup. The LOC is responsible for monitoring work on the stadiums, which is where we welcome criticism from Romario and from the other congressmen, but we’re not responsible for other infrastructural work.” 

When quizzed on the next steps to be taken by the LOC, Ronaldo stated that “2012 is going to be a hectic year featuring important dates, such as for the launch of the slogan and the deadline for work on two stadiums [the Arena Pernambuco and Arena Fonte Nova, which could be confirmed for use at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013]. At the start of the year we’re going to carry out our planning and start working hard. Besides which, we’re awaiting the resolution of the Lei Geral da Copa [the General World Cup Law], so that people start to see another side to things.

“We’re going to show little by little, over the course of all these years of hard work, everything that we want to achieve and the message that we want to get across to the Brazilian public,” continued Ronaldo, before signing off by saying that he is “getting to know all about the structure of the LOC and following the monitoring of the work being carried out on the stadiums”