Popularly known as O Gigante (The Giant) and one of the venues for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the Estadio Beira-Rio received a visit on Wednesday from a delegation comprising representatives from FIFA, the Brazil 2014 Organising Committee (LOC) and the Brazilian government.
Headed by the FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, the Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo, LOC Operations Director Ricardo Trade, local dignitaries and the official mascot of Brazil 2014, the delegation was warmly welcomed by a large group of children and saw for itself how well work is progressing at the stadium and with the city’s urban mobility projects.
FIFA.com rounds up what the leading members of the delegation had to say about their Porto Alegre visit:
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke:
“We visited the stadium this morning and I was fortunate enough to be taken by the local authorities to see the urban mobility programme that is being implemented here in Porto Alegre. I can safely say that FIFA need have no concerns as to the city’s preparations. It is making good progress and the schedule is being met. There is still much to be done of course, and we are going to carry on monitoring everything. You can be sure, however, of our continued support. The stadiums should be ready ahead of schedule as we have to carry out a minimum of two test events for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup, one with the stadium 35 per cent full and the other 70 per cent full, to ensure they are fully operational .”
Brazilian Minister of Sport, Aldo Rebelo:
“I have seen for myself that there’s a real sense of optimism and hard work here in Rio Grande do Sul, going towards getting Porto Alegre ready to host the FIFA World Cup for a second time, the city having also been a venue in 1950. I am absolutely convinced that Porto Alegre will offer the warm welcome the state is known for to journalists, fans, delegations and all visitors to the city in general. That’s the tradition here in Rio Grande do Sul: to offer a warm welcome and overcome whatever problems there are. I can see the result of that dedication and hard work at the stadium and in the urban mobility projects. We all know the problems that exist. But there are problems even in the world’s most advanced countries, and I can cite a few international events in making that point. However, there’s a difference between building an image based on what’s gone right and one that’s founded on what’s gone wrong.”
Beto Grill, Acting Governor of Rio Grande do Sul:
“The Rio Grande do Sul state government decided it was going to focus special attention on building whatever was needed to stage a great FIFA World Cup. We have been working in complete harmony with the city council and the federal government. We know just how big a challenge it is to organise a FIFA World Cup, and we are convinced we will do the people of the state proud. Our job dictates that we do everything in our power to stage a great event, and we are not going to disappoint. We are going to achieve everything that’s been agreed on.”
Jose Fortunatti, Mayor of Porto Alegre:
“I hope all of you have felt right at home. We know that the FIFA World Cup is a major opportunity for us, not only because it is a huge event, but because it is going to leave an important legacy for the city of Porto Alegre and for the people of our state. Urban mobility, safety, public transport and a host of other initiatives: this whole process of transformation is geared towards the staging of the competition. I am sure that Porto Alegre will be making every effort to ensure everything is ready in 2014.”
LOC Operations Director Ricardo Trade:
“Once again we are absolutely delighted. We have formed an excellent partnership with the game of football here in Rio Grande do Sul, which is very strong, and with the state government, the city council and both regional departments. These are important points, as we are working closely together. Work is progressing as smoothly as it possibly can.”