Brazil could stage World Cup in “two months” - Rebelo

05 Dec 2011

Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has played down concerns over the country’s preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, stating that the tournament could be staged in two months’ time if necessary.

Rebelo has said that the Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre is the only stadium out of the 12 set to host the World Cup that has fallen behind schedule. Work has ground to a halt for six months due to a dispute between Internacional, which owns the stadium, and the companies contracted for construction. Meanwhile, Rebelo maintained Brazil’s wider infrastructure will be able to cope with the World Cup, citing the huge mobilisation of people during carnival season as an example of its major event prowess. “People might think that I’m exaggerating, but my impression is that if Brazil had to organise the World Cup in two months’ time, we would be ready,” Rebelo told the government-run NBR channel. “We can do everything which is planned for the World Cup.” He added: “The carnival in Rio de Janeiro mobilises more people in a week than we will have at the World Cup. Salvador and Recife also have a much bigger presence for their carnivals.”

Rebelo has also sought to dampen talk of a dispute between FIFA and Brazil’s Congress over the controversial ‘World Cup law’. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke last month urged Brazilian politicians to quickly approve the law establishing the legal framework for the 2014 World Cup, stating “we can’t lose a single day.” The new law would regulate commercial rights, alcohol sales and advertising rules for the tournament and rubber-stamp the final commitments Brazil’s federal government made to FIFA in its bid to host the World Cup and the 2013 Confederations Cup. However, there are concerns that world football’s governing body should not be allowed to overstep Brazilian law. Rebelo conceded that one of the major bones of contention is the subject of affordable tickets for local people, citing the example of the native Indian population in the Amazonas capital of Manaus.

“We are all making a common effort but it’s natural to have differences in any given activity,” said Rebelo. “As well as tickets for senior citizens and students, I have asked for a portion of tickets to be set aside for low incomes families and the indigenous population. Half price would not resolve the matter because that is still too high for their income. It would not make sense to hold the World Cup in Manaus and not allow the indigenous population to see the games.”