FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke was in Natal on Wednesday, the second day of his three-day trip to Brazil. Joining him on what proved to be a very positive visit to the Estadio das Dunas were Bebeto and Ronaldo, both members of the Management Board of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Organising Committee (LOC).
Also forming part of the delegation touring the stadium was Brazilian artist Romero Britto, who is a FIFA ambassador on the trip; Luis Fernandes, Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Sport; Rosalba Ciarlini, the Governor of Rio Grande do Norte state, and a number of local dignitaries.
The room hosting the subsequent press conference is a fine example of the social legacy project currently being implemented in Natal, providing as it does the location for daily literacy classes for some of the workers at the Estadio das Dunas.
FIFA.com reveals what the delegation had to say about their visit to the stadium.
“The project is on the right track. The last game here in Natal will take place on 24 June 2014, which means that Natal’s part in the FIFA World Cup will come to an end in two years’ time. There’s no time to lose and the work really needs to be done fast. That said, I was very impressed with what’s being done here. Natal will be a different city after the FIFA World Cup, with an improved public transport system and a better quality of life for people. Congratulations. The job is being done very well and it’s been designed so that the city can get the most out of it and to leave a genuine legacy for people after the event has finished. The good thing about the project is that it’s moving on. We had the red light before, but now we’ve got the right colour again and the projects are on schedule. So there are no concerns on our part, though we will continue to monitor the situation.”
“I’m becoming something of a popular figure here in Natal. I saw how far the work has come on and it made very happy to see the workers and staff getting really involved. I’m very pleased. I spoke to the governor and she has this incredible energy and desire to get things done. I’ve always been positive, and I’ve had faith ever since the first time I came here. My mind was at ease when I left, and now I’m happy and convinced that the Estadio das Dunas will be at the FIFA World Cup in 2014. We all need to stick together and the work must go on. We need everyone to help and push each other on.”
“I can see that the construction work is moving on. I’ve been to Natal many times and I’m delighted to see the tremendous progress being made. Natal will play a very important part at the FIFA World Cup, and I’m banking on everyone to do their bit to build a wonderful stadium. I’m learning an awful lot by helping to organise the FIFA World Cup in my country. I spend every day looking for information on the event and the Host Cities. It’s very motivating for us to take part. We live in a world where bad news always makes the headlines, but as a patriot I want us to put on the greatest event of all time in Brazil.”
“We’ve just seen how excited the workers were to spend time with our eternal idols. I want to speak about another kind of excitement, though, the excitement we feel at what we see, with all the work that’s going on in Rio Grande do Norte. When Brazil readied itself to fight for the right to host the FIFA World Cup, what we wanted to do was not so much fight for the event but boost the development of the country. The Natal stadium is part of a project for the development of the whole state, and we are confident the stadium will soon be finished on time and all the other projects as well.”
“The best thing about Rio Grande do Norte is our people, and we are determined to keep moving forward with the construction work. The FIFA World Cup is going to bring a great legacy with it. It’s a multi-purpose stadium and that means we can stage our big derbies and host other shows too.”