Exactly 50 days before the big kick-off, Cuiaba, which is set to host four group matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, received another visit from a delegation led by the FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, the Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo and Local Organising Committee (LOC) Management Board member Ronaldo. They were pleased to see the latest developments in the stadium that will receive eight different teams, and highlighted the legacy that will be left for the local community in terms of better airport and public transport facilities.

After visiting the Maria Ambrosio Pommot Municipal School, the delegation went to inspect the Arena Pantanal where it met with the Governor Silval Barbosa and the Mayor Mauro Mendes to define the delivery schedule over the coming weeks. From Cuiaba, the delegation moved on to Fortaleza where it visited Aterro de Iracema, the site of the FIFA Fan Fest in the Ceara state capital. This is what they had to say after the visit.

FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke
Earlier today we visited a school where the “FIFA 11 For Health” programme is being implemented, which is an example of how football can change lives. Here in the stadium we agreed that the seats that have not yet been installed will be put in place by 5 May, so that the test events can be held with the proper crowd capacity.

Yesterday when we arrived it was raining hard and we asked for confirmation that all the work on the public transport links between the airport and the city and the stadium would be ready for the World Cup to avoid problems for the supporters. This does not mean that all the improvement made to the transport system will be ready before the World Cup, which was not one of our requirements. But the improvements needed to make sure people can get to Cuiaba easily during the tournament will be completed.

The stadium will be delivered to FIFA as agreed in the period of exclusive use, when we will start to install everything we need, such as the press boxes.

The Arena Pantanal is looking good and I do not foresee any major problems. The seats are not coming from Brazil, but we have been told they are on the way. The pitch is also good quality.

Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo
I was always confident that Cuiaba and Mato Grosso would live up to Brazil and the world’s expectations in helping to host this marvellous event. It was not difficult to organise everything for four matches. The stadium is being erected on the site of the former O Verdão (The Big Green), and as we can see it is a thing of beauty. We will meet the deadlines stipulated to put the seats in place. We have held one test event – the match between Mixto and Santos – and another two are scheduled.

The public transport improvements will modernise the system and make traffic better for everybody in the city. Every time I travel the route between the Varzea Grande airport and the city centre I see more progress made. I believe that instead of dwelling on one or two infrastructures that are behind schedule we should focus on getting the job finished and celebrate the improvements being made, which are highly beneficial for Cuiaba, Mato Grosso and Brazil.

LOC Management Board Member Ronaldo
It’s a pleasure to be here again in Cuiaba. We had a great visit to a school, where we met hundreds of children on the incredible FIFA 11 For Health programme. The project is aimed at improving children’s well-being and health through physical activity and education. It was a wonderful occasion full of joy and it was lovely seeing the smiles on those kids’ faces.

We have no doubts that the Arena Pantanal will be a stand-out World Cup venue, and of course the event will leave a great legacy for the city. Several improvements are being made for the benefit of the local community and this city will serve as an example of the wonderful legacy the World Cup leaves behind. It’s a great opportunity because the legacy won’t be restricted to the stadium; the public transport network will also be improved. A lot of investment is being made in Brazil in the 12 Host Cities, but Cuiaba is the foremost example of how to make the most of this opportunity.

The pitch is excellent. I saw the Mixto-Santos game on TV and despite the heavy rain beforehand the pitch held up well. Today it is dry and firm, which shows the fantastic drainage system. I leant down to tug it, but the real test has to be with boots and goalposts. But there’s no doubt it looks perfect and appears to be firm and in line with FIFA standards.

Mato Grosso Governador Silval Barbosa
The guarantee that the stadium will be finished and all the seats installed was given today. The company has produced all the seats needed and they are now being assembled and transported to Cuiaba. They will all be in place by 5 May at the latest.

As for the work on the public transport facilities, I’ve told the press that if they check the weather reports from the last 40 years they will see that it has never rained as much as it has this year. When it rains heavily, like it did yesterday, we need two or three sunny days before work can start again, which obviously has an impact on the schedule. But I reiterated to the Minister that we will have over 4,000 people working 24/7 to prepare the roads leading to the Arena Pantanal, from the airport to the hotels and all the other tasks.

I’m very happy with the way the work is progressing, especially the excavation and bridges that are just about finished. We will spruce things up to welcome the eight teams that are coming to Cuiaba.

Cuiaba Mayor Mauro Mendes
We would again like to express our gratitude for the opportunity and the honour of hosting the World Cup in our city. A huge amount of time and effort has been made in the last few years. Cuiaba will be remembered not only because of this major event, but also because of the positive impact and the legacy the tournament will leave behind. One can’t forget that among the 12 Host Cities, Cuiaba is the one that has carried out the highest number of construction projects and improvements, most of them in preparation for and inspired by the World Cup coming to our city.