The biggest story of the last seven days was the announcement that former Seleção striker Ronaldo will be taking a seat on the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Local Organising Committee Management Board. The leading scorer in the history of the competition, Ronaldo appeared alongside Brazilian Football Association President Ricardo Teixeira at a press conference to announce the news on Thursday, and will play an active role in the decision-making process and the day-to-day running of the LOC.
Ronaldo’s appointment comes at an important time in the organisation of the world finals, with the project set to enter a key phase. As the LOC’s Executive Operations Manager Ricardo Trade explained at a presentation at the Soccerex Global Convention on Tuesday, next year and 2013 will be crucial.
“We’ve been putting the operational concept together in 2011 and we’ll continue with that work next year, when we’ll also be integrating operations before decentralising the whole process to Host City level,” he told the packed audience. “In 2013 we’ll move into the event preparation phase, carrying out tests and simulations in conjunction with the 12 Host Cities.
“Following EURO 2012 and the London Olympic Games, the eyes of the sporting world will be trained even more closely on our country,” continued Trade. “We will be hosting a major event in 2013 in the shape of the Confederations Cup, with eight teams taking part in a festival of champions. We want both events to be celebrations where spectators feel safe and comfortable. We want to encourage them to come back to Brazil.”
FIFA and LOC also had a stand at the Convention, which took place from Saturday to Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, the venue for the Final of Brazil 2014. Set up to inform and interact with the public, the stand was manned by representatives from each area involved in the organisation of the world finals and received visits from some illustrious figures, among them Honorary FIFA President Joao Havelange and former Brazil player and coach Mario Jorge Zagallo.
The stand was fitted out with four screens relaying real-time pictures of the construction and refurbishment work being carried out at the 12 stadiums that will stage games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. These pictures are also being monitored on a daily basis at the headquarters of the LOC, and as the latest photos released this week show, the venues are beginning to take shape as construction work continues.
The Castelao in Fortaleza is a case in point. Half of the four continuous construction phases have now been completed at the stadium. Following the conclusion of stage one in August, stage two was handed over at the end of November, with three and four already underway. The stadium will host one of the semi-finals at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and six matches at the world finals a year later.