Thursday’s executive meeting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Organising Committee (LOC) in Rio de Janeiro was followed by a press conference attended by LOC President Jose Maria Marin, LOC Management Board members Bebeto and Ronaldo, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, and the Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Sport Luis Fernandes. FIFA.com rounds up their views on the meeting.
LOC President Jose Maria Marin:
We’ve just had a very productive meeting in which the preparations for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup were discussed. I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the perfect harmony and integration that exists between the LOC members, Bebeto and Ronaldo, FIFA and the federal government. We are working towards the same objective, which is to show the world that Brazil has the skills and the ability to stage a great FIFA World. Of all the various topics that came up for discussion at the meeting, what gave me the greatest happiness was the large number of volunteers who want to help out at these major events. I can only put that enthusiasm down to the example set by Bebeto and Ronaldo. They are famous names, but more than anything else they are loved and respected both here and around the world.
On Recife at the FIFA Confederations Cup
We are giving close support to Eduardo Campos, the governor of Pernambuco state, and are in constant contact with him. Worker numbers have increased and I have no doubt that the stadium will be ready in time.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke:
We spoke a lot at the meeting about the stadiums and the investments the government is making in telecommunications, infrastructures in the 12 Host Cities and tourism. It is worth remembering that tourism is one of the main legacies of the FIFA World Cup. There is a process of exchange between all the parties involved. We are not just working together in analysing the situation and the progress being made, but also with the purpose of finding solutions. We were very impressed on our visit to Cuiaba, for example. We could see at the meeting that there is not a single stadium that’s code red (critically behind schedule) for 2014, not one in a critical situation. That could change at any time but at this stage of the preparations there are no stadiums that are code red. We still have to check Recife, which will be done in October, with a final decision being announced in the first week of November. We’ve reached a level of cooperation that all the parties were looking for.
On the level of satisfaction with the construction work
We're on the right track. That’s the message from the meeting. There are challenges and that’s normal with any host nation 22 months before the event. We now have to work with all the Host Cities to guarantee people can get around. That’s the most important part of our work with the LOC, through their Operations Director Ricardo Trade and the Management Board members Bebeto and Ronaldo. That’s why we’re visiting the 12 Host Cities and why we can say that they’re all committed to working and using the FIFA World Cup not just to organise the event at the stadiums but to change cities and create new urban mobility programmes and new accommodation plans. The 12 Host Cities are working very hard and very well.
On the schedule of visits for the rest of the year
We’ll be visiting Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro in October, and we’ve got an executive meeting on the 18th. The next time we’ll meet up after that will be on 28 November.
On urban mobility
There are a lot of projects forming part of the urban mobility legacy, and the FIFA World Cup is only the start. When I talk about challenges I’m referring to operational ones as opposed to general issues. That’s why we have working groups bringing together representatives from the LOC, FIFA and the federal government to discuss aspects such as accommodation and airports. There’s not one project that’s been left behind or forgotten. All are being handled in different ways but at the same pace.
FIFA has no problem in relation to Recife. All that needs to be done is for the deadlines to be met so that we know that all the requirements will be fulfilled and that we can start selling tickets for the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Sport Luis Fernandes:
It was a long but very productive meeting. What stood out for me was that we’ve achieved further developments that take the cooperation between FIFA, the LOC and the federal government to a new level. There are two dimensions to that. The first concerns the monitoring and evaluation of the construction work and infrastructure projects, with a joint assessment being made of the progress of the work and joint decisions taken on the actions needed to guarantee handover in time for the events. The second dimension is that we are now moving from the infrastructure planning and execution phase to a phase in which operational plans are drawn up, which involves a considerable degree of integration.
On urban mobility
The fundamental point is that we are looking on the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup as opportunities to bring about the sustainable development of Brazil. A lot is said about the stadiums, but the FIFA World Cup gave us the chance to put together essential projects for the event itself as well as other projects generated by it, and these investments have generated very positive results. All key structures will be in place in time for the World Cup. All the projects that form part of our network of responsibilities are subject to regular inspections, and the next one is scheduled for October.
This was my third meeting and I’ve learned an awful lot from it. When I was playing football my concern was to win the game. That was what I focused on. But as a member of the LOC I can see just how big and difficult a job it is to organise this event, which is why we rely on the support of volunteers. We launched the Programme last Wednesday in my home city of Salvador, and we’ve been very pleased with the response from the people of Brazil. We’ve had applications from all over the country and we’ve already reached our target of 90,000. Today we’ve gone up to 95,000. We are very grateful and we are going to keep on working hard to ensure that the FIFA World Cup leaves a very big legacy for Brazil.
We made important visits to Cuiaba and Manaus, and we are still very optimistic about the preparations at both venues. We are also delighted with the participation of the people of Brazil in the Volunteer Programme, which is very important to the success of the FIFA World Cup. You can’t stage a major sporting event without the participation of volunteers.