Prezados amigos de futebol,
While the world’s spotlight is on the Olympic Games here in London, preparations in Brazil continue at full steam to get ready for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. This is crucial as we must not lose sight of the important tasks ahead and August will be a busy month for all of us. After all, in exactly two years’ time, we will already have completed the group stage of the FIFA World Cup!
This week another important step on the way to 2014 was reached when the host cities received the conceptual plan for the temporary facilities that are so essential for the FIFA World Cup, particularly in terms of sustainability. For us, it is crucial that the infrastructure created in these cities is also geared towards their needs after the FIFA World Cup is over, and that the requirements to cope with the unique magnitude of the FIFA World Cup are met wherever possible through temporary constructions such as modular seating and media facilities. FIFA and the LOC have held various workshops with the host cities to brief them on the details outlined in the contracts they signed upon their appointment in 2007. On 1 August 2012, the team base camps will be presented to the associations currently aiming to secure one of the coveted 31 tickets to Brazil. So far, 313 of the total 820 qualifiers have been played.
Brazil’s hosting of the upcoming FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games has already generated a great deal of interest in London, as people turn their thoughts to the next major tournaments on the global sporting horizon. This is a call to action for the Brazilians and for FIFA. We need to enable football fans to experience the unique FIFA World Cup atmosphere in the country of the five-time world champions and therefore fulfil millions of dreams.
Here in London, we can see how important accommodation, transport and other logistics are to ensuring that the hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy the event and spread positive messages about the host country. Research from previous FIFA World Cups in Germany and South Africa has shown that more than 80 per cent of visitors plan to return to the host nation and recommend it to friends and family. According to the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, Brazil currently welcomes 5.4 million visitors per year to its shores. With its broad appeal and unrivalled media exposure, the FIFA World Cup offers this country of such diverse natural beauty and vibrant culture the ideal platform to increase its attraction as a tourist destination.
One of the fundamental components of a successful 2014 FIFA World Cup is the passion, friendliness and helpfulness shown by its volunteers, which leave a lasting impression on foreign visitors. Without the support and commitment of volunteers, major sporting events like the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup would simply not be possible. Each and every one of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup volunteers will make a vital contribution in bringing the event slogan – ‘All in one rhythm’ - to life. In return, each of them can expect to take away some unforgettable memories from the very heart of the action. The enthusiastic efforts of these volunteers will also highlight the importance of their work to the community and the potential that volunteering can offer Brazil. On 21 August 2012, the LOC will reveal how Brazilians and members of the international community can become part of the biggest FIFA World Cup team.
For FIFA, leaving a legacy in the host country is of utmost importance. We are not only interested in the stadiums and the infrastructure, but for us one of our key objectives is the training and experience that locals get in the build-up to an event like the FIFA World Cup as well as the development and social responsibility activities that we support in the local communities. It is also crucial that all the facilities left in the country are used long after the tournament is over, and that the infrastructure built remains as a legacy for future generations of Brazilians.
In one month, on 28 August 2012, I will return to Brazil to visit Manaus and Cuiaba, and to attend the LOC Board meeting in Rio. By then, the focus of the world will have fully shifted to the 2014 host country.