Porto Alegre was bathed in sunshine as it welcomed a joint FIFA/Brazil 2014 Organising Committee (LOC) delegation on Monday on the first stop of its tour of two of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
Heading the delegation on its visit to the Estadio Beira-Rio was FIFA Secretary Jérôme Valcke, who was accompanied by LOC Management Board members Ronaldo and Bebeto, and the Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo. Meeting them at the stadium were Beto Grill, the deputy governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, and Sebastiao Melo, the deputy mayor of Porto Alegre.
Before arriving at the stadium, the delegation toured the construction site at the Pinheiro Borda viaduct, which forms part of the Avenida Beira-Rio road-widening project, a key feature of the urban mobility plan in a city that will host five matches at Brazil 2014.
When they moved on to the stadium the delegation members made a symbolic handover of a 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil ticket to two of the workers who have helped build the Beira-Rio. Every worker involved in the construction or refurbishment of the 12 stadiums to be used at next year’s world finals will be given tickets for a match to be held in their respective cities.
At the end of the visit Valcke, Bebeto, Ronaldo and Rebelo were joined at a press conference by Internacional President Giovani Luigi.
The delegation will complete their two-day tour on Tuesday, when they will visit Cuiaba and the city’s Arena Pantanal.
FIFA.com rounds up what the dignitaries had to say at the press conference that brought Monday’s events to a close:
FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke
“There’s been a big change since we were here last time. There are no worries or doubts at all about the Beira-Rio being ready in time. A FIFA World Cup stadium is very different to the one that will be used by Internacional. We have a lot more activities going on and a lot more people involved, and the surroundings of the Beira-Rio will allow us to do the things we have to without any problems.
“It is great for all of us at FIFA to come here because Porto Alegre is a city that lives and breathes football. Everyone who visits the city next year will be able to see that for themselves.”
LOC Management Board member Bebeto
“I’ve always felt that Internacional have the best pitch in Brazil. I really enjoyed playing here and I always felt at home. I’m delighted to see the stadium looking like this.”
LOC Management Board member Ronaldo
“We’ve had the chance to inspect the work being carried out around the stadium and that is one of the legacies of the FIFA World Cup, which will speed up these investments. This is a big event and it’s bringing real benefits for people.”
Beto Grill, deputy governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul
“We are working in areas such as energy, security and training so that we can give people the right welcome. Thanks to the teamwork between the federal government, the state government and the city council, we are sure we will be ready for the World Cup.”
Sebastiao Melo, deputy mayor of Porto Alegre
“It’s not easy to execute a whole construction project in a living city, but the work being conducted on the Avenida Beira-Rio will leave an urban mobility legacy for Porto Alegre. We are more than ready to stage a great event for the whole of Brazil.”
Internacional President Giovani Luigi
“It gives all of us here at Internacional great pleasure to be welcoming everyone at such an important time, a time when the project for the construction of a first-class stadium is becoming a reality.”