Brazil 2014 reaches “cruise speed” - Valcke
31 Aug 2012
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has said work on 2014 World Cup stadia and infrastructure is progressing well, adding that Brazil’s preparations for the tournament have reached “cruise speed”.
Valcke was speaking on Thursday after completing visits to the host cities of Manaus and Cuiaba. His comments come after a key official behind Brazil’s massive infrastructure development for both the World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games this week acknowledged the challenges facing the country before it stages the football showpiece in less than two years’ time. Benedicto Barbosada Silva Junior, CEO of the infrastructure unit of Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht, stated that timelines had been “accelerated”, adding: “Today, I’m more worried about the World Cup than I am about the Olympics.”
However, Valcke said, according to AFP: “No stadium is behind schedule. All the projects are proceeding well and we have reached cruise speed. Things are working better. More is being accomplished. Things are speeding up.”
The development of accommodation and transport infrastructure is believed to be the major challenge facing Brazil 2014. Luis Fernandes, Executive Secretary of the sports ministry, said the Brazilian government, local organising committee and FIFA were now conducting joint inspections and were speaking “with one voice” on progress in the projects. Regarding stadium development, Cuiaba’s Arena Pantanal is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, with Manaus’ venue set to be ready by June 2013. “It’s amazing, the number of projects which will transform the city after the World Cup,” Valcke added. “That’s what the World Cup is about, organise an event and change the face of a city. Cuiaba will impress the world in 2014.” However, the northern cities of Salvador and Recife are of greater concern and face a November deadline in order to prove their readiness to stage games at next year’s Confederations Cup.