Prezados amigos do futebol,

On 29 May 2012, we launched the Official Slogan of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™: “All in one rhythm”, and three months later I can really say that we are “Juntos numsó ritmo”.  Whether it is the FIFA team, the Local Organising Committee, the government or the host cities and states, we have found our rhythm and we follow the same beat. On my just-concluded visit to Brazil, I have felt that the spirit of the FIFA World Cup is settling in the country that breathes football in nearly all walks of life.

The overwhelming number of more than 95,000 people wanting to become volunteers confirms the eagerness of the football community to experience a FIFA World Cup in this Mecca of football, namely the country of the five-time world champions Brazil.  This was, by the way, the largest number of interested volunteers in the programme’s history, clearly a sign that Brazilians cannot wait to take part in this the greatest celebration in football.

Cities such as Cuiabá make me very confident that the citizens in the host cities will not only have fond memories of the greatest football party to take place in 2014, but will feel a tangible legacy - from infrastructure to capacity building - well beyond the final whistle. The host cities have understood how to benefit from the event and how to use the staging of the biggest sporting event in the city as an engine to drive improvements in all areas.  

Indeed we - FIFA, the LOC and the host country stakeholders - really have come a long way in moving forward, for sure there is still lots of work, but we are back on the right track. At the moment there is no single arena in a critical status for the FIFA World Cup. Together all parties keep tightly monitoring the progress to ensure any operational challenges are addressed immediately. Thanks to the cooperation with government established working groups for the various areas, work has been progressing at the right pace, in the speed we need to stage a successful event. And the Confederations Cup, with the crème de la crème of football participating, will not only make football fans’ hearts beat faster, but also serve as a major test for the operation.

Having just landed back in Zurich my thoughts are already wandering to my next stop of the host city tour which will take me from 16 to 18 October to Belo-Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro. I am looking forward to exploring the latest movements at the Maracanã and to see the new offices of the Local Organising Committee in Rio Centro, Barra. This will be the hub of broadcasters in 2014, hosting more than 10,000 media representatives at the International Broadcast Centre.

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Jérôme Valcke