Status of World Cup Brazil 2014, 500 days before kick off

January 25, 2013

Time to another round up on how Brazil is preparing to World Cup 2014.

On January 28th 2013, Brazil will be 500 days away from the kick off of the World Cup; Brazil was declared hosts by FIFA in October 2007, more than five years ago.

There was an interview today, where Minister of Sports of Brazil, Aldo Rebelo, spoke to journalists from international sites and newspapers; the topics of the interview, freely chosen by the journalists, can be considered the main issues of the World Cup today.

First off, let’s talk about the Minister.

Aldo Rebelo (see his twitter) is Minister of Sports since October 2011. He never practiced any sports, he doesn’t know much about sports.

He was appointed to the office because he is a member of Communist Party. To have the Communist Party supporting the Government, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff agreed with appointing to Ministry of Sports a member of the Party, whoever he or she was. The former Minister was Orlando Silva, who was charged with several cases of corruption and bribery and was forced to quit. Aldo Rebelo was appointed by the Party, because the World Cup involves a lot of money, and the Party wanted some of  it.

Let’s see what the Minister was asked about, and what he answered (read what  Bleach Report wrote about the interview):

  • “Two stadiums are already finished”. The two stadiums are Castelao and Mineirao, delivered in December 2012. These stadiums and another four will be used during the Confederations Cup, which will open in June 2013. To the Minister, having 2 out of 6 stadiums delivered six months before kick off is an achievement (London was fully prepared for the Olympics 2012 one year before the event). Maracanã, which will also host Confederations Cup matches, will be delivered in May 2013, only 20 days before the first match).
  • Transport: “London and Beijing also had troubles with their airports”. Does he want to compare the troubles of London and Beijing with the troubles of Rio, Sao Paulo and the other cities? That’s a joke. Galeão, the main airport in Rio, faced a blackout in December (no light, no air conditioner, no take offs), while Cumbica, the largest airport in Brazil, was only recently chartered to private administration (after the Government admitted to not having either funds of ability to properly run large airports).
  • Safety: “In all of this, we seek to work with federal and state security agencies, so all people—not just tourists—can be safe”. According to this study, more than 50,000 people are victims of homicide in Brazil. More than any other war in the World (including Iraq, Afeghanistan, whatever).
  • Accommodation. “Federal police and revenue services will be obligated to reduce hotel costs…The government are working with the private sector, to ensure no extortion of this type happens again.” He said “happens again” because, very recently, during the Eco+20, hotels prices raised so much that the Government had to intervene. The Police and the IRS have nothing to do with it. Prices in Brazil are free; hotels raise the prices because there is a shortage of beds, and guests must pay a higher price.
  • Expectations. Rebelo is confident Brazil will deliver a World Cup beyond peoples’ expectation. One million volunteers will be enlisted to help make it happen, and he expects Brazil to “open its arms to the world” and deliver a “spiritual” welcome to all those who make the journey. Volunteers will make it happen? OK.

Final comment: the interview had to be translated, because Mr. Rebelo can’t speak any language other than Portuguese (he proposed a law which prohibits foreign words in Brazil).


Photos of the construction of the stadiums of the World Cup 2014

February 8, 2012

February 2012 – FIFA visited the stadiums of the World Cup 2014; according to the news, “FIFA officials have often said preparations are behind schedule and Valcke has already urged Brazilian politicians to speed up the process”.

FIFA released photos of the current situation of nine of the twelve stadiums. We are about 26 months away from the kick off of the World Cup 2014, and 16 months away from the Confederations Cup 2013. The photos can be a good source of comparison, when time comes to evaluate the stage of the stadiums for the Russia World Cup 2018.

Mineirao, in Belo Horizonte.

Maracana, in Rio de Janeiro; already confirmed as the stage of the final match of the Cup.

National Stadium Mane Garrincha, in Brasilia.

Castelao, in Fortaleza; the city was appraised by FIFA, and became strong candidate to host the final draw, one of the major events of the World Cup.

The four above stadiums are confirmed to host the Confederations Cup in June of 2013; works should be finished by December 2012.

Arena Pernambuco, in Recife.

Arena Pantanal, in Cuiaba.

Arena Corinthians Itaquera, in Sao Paulo. It was the last one to start, but, being Sao Paulo the economic and financial center of Brazil, Corinthians had not much trouble to find fundings – and prices for naming rights are already being discussed.

Arena das Dunas, in Natal; the most delayed of all. It there is a host city running the risk of being called off from the Cup, that would be Natal.

Arena Fonte Nova, in Salvador. Arena Fonte Nova and Arena Pernambuco still aspire to host matches of the Confederations Cup 2013; FIFA will assess the works in June 2012, and will decide about the inclusion of these two cities.

World Cup 2014 – February 2012 status

February 6, 2012

Another yearly status about the perspectives of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil; check out the 2011 report.

Stadiums are still delayed; the Confederations Cup will be held in June 2013, and FIFA confirmed only four stadiums to stage the games: Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and FortalezaRecife and Salvador may also host games, provided that the works in the respective stadiums move faster until June 2012, when a decision will be made.

All other six host cities are out of the Confederations Cup, which means that the stadiums of those cities will not be ready before December 2013. So, if everything goes as planned (there are notices that the workers will go on strike for better salaries), there will be less than six months for these venues to be actually tested.

The Local Committee, as usual, denies the delays; however, facts are stronger. The image below show the actual stage of Arena das Dunas, stadium of Natal, in January 2012.

The most advanced stadium is the Castelao, in Fortaleza. FIFA visited Fortaleza in January 2012 and was impressed; there are strong rumors that Fortaleza will host the final draw of the World Cup.

The situation of airports is even worse than in 2011. The only new “expansion” was in the airport of São Paulo, but the ceiling of the new space collapsed a few days later.

The Federal Government admitted, very late, that they have no money and no competence to properly administer the chaotic situation of airports in Brazil, and started the process of privatizing  the major airports; so far, two airports in Sao Paulo and one in Brasilia have been auctioned.

And a new factor came into discussion: the legalities of the Cup.

To protect their interests and their sponsors’, FIFA have a series of demands, which must be clearly satisfied in a General Law of World Cup, to be approved by the Brazilian Congress.

For example, Brazilian law currently restricts the selling of alcohol in the stadiums, and this contradicts the interests of Budweiser, a major sponsor. Besides, even though Brazilian law already prohibits ambush marketing, FIFA want all the penalties to be increased. Also, FIFA want the Brazilian Government to take responsibility for any unpredictable loss; for example, in case of a natural disaster during the World Cup, the Brazilian Government would have to compensate FIFA for their losses.

Ticket prices and distribution scheme were not announced yet. However, attending request of the Brazilian Government, FIFA already confirmed that the cheapest tickets will cost US$ 25,  to be sold only to the poorer Brazilians.

Come back soon for more news.

World Cup 2014 – February 2011 status

February 15, 2011

It’s been more than three years that FIFA confirmed Brazil as host of the World Cup 2014, and nearly two years that FIFA announced the host cities of the World Cup. The World Cup is just three years away.

However, very little has been done. None of the stadiums of the Cup is remotely near being ready. Brazil is still thinking how to build new airports, new hotels, new roads, new everything.

A report (for subscribers only) published today February 15th 2011 by Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico, based on data provided by the Portal of Transparence (which lists all expenditures of the Federal Government), shows the situation very clearly.

The newspaper interviewed the Minister of Sports, Orlando Silva, who acknowledged that Brazil is entering a “zone of risk”; if the invesments don’t move quicker this year, the Minister foresees trouble in 2014.

The Federal Government plans to invest a total of R$ 23,571 billion for the World Cup; up until today, only 36.5% were already contracted (meaning that the other 63.5% are still awaiting planning, approval, bidding, signing); and only 0.87% were effectively carried out.

The table below shows the situation broken down by host city.

Rio de Janeiro, where the final watch will be staged, is the most advanced host city; out of a total of R$ 3.211 billion, nearly R$ 2 billion were already signed and. However, only R$ 84 million were already carried out, which translates as only 2.6% of the estimated total.

Sao Paulo, the richest State in Brazil, will have the biggest share of investments, with a bit more than R$ 5 billion; less than 0.4% were already spent. In Sao Paulo, the stadium will be a private one, hence demanding less federal funds; such is the case also in Porto Alegre and Curitiba.

It looks like the most isolated cities, Manaus and Cuiaba, antecipated the logistic problems they would face because of the longer distances, and are the ones which already signed most contracts (according to CBF reports, these two cities are the ones following more closely the planned schedules).

Recife and Brasilia signed very few contracts (the Governor of Brasilia was arrested in 2010, which added to the delays). The northeastern cities of Salvador, Fortaleza and Natal are also running against the time.

World Cup Brazil 2014: Fortaleza

May 16, 2010

Fortaleza (“Fortress”, in Portuguese) is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. The Northeast of Brazil is famous for their beaches, attracting tourists from the entire country and from all over the World; besides Fortaleza,FIFA chose three other cities in the Northeast to host matches of the World Cup 2014: Natal, Recife and Salvador.

Check out more information about World Cup in Fortaleza and hotels in Fortaleza.

Fortaleza has the additional advantage of being the city nearest Europe and North America, and with a good number of direct flights. Many Europeans (particularly Portuguese, Italians and Spaniards) have a second residence in Fortaleza and neighbourhood.

In Fortaleza, matches of the Cup will take place at the stadium Castelão, which is being refurbished. This is going to be one of the biggest stadium of the Cup (about 60,000 seats), and there is a good chance that it will stage important matches of the final rounds.

With a population of over 2.5 million (metropolitan region over 3.4 million), Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil. It has an area of 313 square kilometres (121 sq mi) and one of the highest demographic densities in the country(8,001 per km²).

Beira-mar Avenue, lined with kiosks and restaurants, is a favorite amongst tourists; at the handcraft fair (the feirinha), many stands show embroidery and leather work, as well as jewelry and regional food or artisinal cachaça.

Of the urban beaches in Fortaleza, Praia do Futuro is the most frequented and is characterized by restaurants along the beach, each one with its own musical style and decoration.

Dragão do Mar Art and Culture Center holds the Cearense Culture Memorial, the Contemporary Art Museum and Rubens de Azevedo Planetarium, as well as movies and theaters. Besides this, many old warehouses were refurbished and became bars and restaurants surrounding the central area of town. There are cuisine and show options in the evening. It is most certainly one of the trendiest places to be seen.

Nightlife includes bars, nightclubs and restaurants; restaurants in Fortaleza are particularly known by comedy shows that have introduced nationally famous artists.

During the off-season carnival, Fortal, in July, hords of partiers come to Fortaleza; the city also stages music festivals in Brazil, such as Ceará Music. This yearly event includes local artists and international pop rock stars for 3 days. Around 25 thousand people enjoy the fun and several concerts, electronic music tents, and fashion shows.

The Pinto Martins International Airport connects Fortaleza with major Brazilian cities and also operates international flights. The city is home to the Federal University of Ceará.

Information in Portuguese: Ferias em Fortaleza.

World Cup Brazil 2014: Natal

May 16, 2010

Natal (lit. “Christmas”) is the capital and largest city of Rio Grande do Norte, a northeastern state in Brazil. As of the IBGE July 2009, the city had a total population of 806,203 (1,263,547 in its Greater Natal).

Natal will be one of the smallest cities chosen by FIFA to host games of the World Cup 2014 (only Cuiabá is smaller); the city celebrated heartly the nomination, as there was a fierce dispute with other cities.

Matches in Natal will take place in a new arena. Current stadium Machadão will be put to ground, a Arena das Dunas will be built from scratch.

Natal is known as City of the Dunes. A combination of beaches, dunes, lagoons, and a still calm city have turned Natal into one of the main tourist destinations in Brazil. Tourists who want to combine a trip to the Cup with beach scenery can choose between Natal, Recife, Fortaleza and Salvador.

The implementation of the Via Costeira (Coastal Highway), 10 km (5.5 mi) long avenue along the shore and the dunes, was the true starting point for the beginning of tourist activity in the State in the 1980s. That is where the main hotels, shopping centers and restaurants of the capital city, Natal, are concentrated.

Natal has several tourist attractions and is famous for its natural beauty (such as the crystalline waters of Maracajaú and the largest cashew tree in the world), for its historical monuments and buildings (such as the Forte dos Reis Magos and the Alberto Maranhão Theater), for its beaches (such as Ponta Negra, Pipa and Genipabu) and also for its off-season carnival, the Carnatal.

It is the capital of Brazil closest to Europe and Africa, and the Augusto Severo International Airport currently connects Natal with many Brazilian cities and also operates some international flights. Until 2014, a new airport shall be ready in São Gonçalo do Amarante, metropolitan area of Natal.

World Cup Brazil 2014: Curitiba

May 16, 2010

Curitiba is known in Brazil and world wide for being a city with high standards of living and concerned with sustainable growth. The city boasts high levels of education, low records of violence, the better urban transportation system among the bigger cities in Brazil.

Read news about the World Cup in Curitiba and check out hotel, flats and hostels in Curitiba.

In 2010 the city was awarded with the Globe Sustainable City Award;  Reader’s Digest appointed Curitiba as one of the 100 best places to live in the World and the best one in Brazil.

Curitiba was chosen by FIFA as one of host cities of the World Cup 2014. Games will take place at the stadium Arena da Baixada, which belongs to Atletico Paranaense club; this is going to be the smallest stadium of the Cup, and one of the three private stadia (the other ones will be Morumbi, in Sao Paulo, and Beira Rio, in Porto Alegre).

Curitiba  is the capital city of the Brazilian state of Paraná; the name means “Land of Pines” in indigenous language (reference to the vast forests of pinewards which existed in the region).

The city has the largest population, the largest economy in the State and also in southern Brazil. The population of Curitiba numbers approximately 1.8 million people (7th largest in Brazil) and the latest GDP figures for the city surpass US$17 billion (ranking 4th nationwide) according to IBGE.

Curitiba is an important cultural, political and economic center in the country. The city sits on a plateau at 932 metres (3,058 ft) above sea level. It is located 105 kilometres (65 mi) west of the sea port of Paranaguá and themain airport is  Afonso Pena International.

Growth of the city was based on the cattle trade, being half way between cattle breeding country to the South and markets to the North. Waves of European immigrants started arriving after 1850, mainly Germans, Italians, Japanese, Poles and Ukrainians, contributing to the economic and cultural development of the city (Japanese descendent Cassio Taniguchi is an ex-mayor).

Currently, only small numbers of foreigners migrate to Curitiba, and these are mainly immigrants from Middle Eastern and South American countries, most of which settle in Foz do Iguaçu, in the border region with Argentina and Paraguay; there is, however, a significant  inward flow of Brazilians from other States of the country, who are attracted by the higher standards of living of Curitiba (it is estimated that nowadays about half the population of Curitiba was not born in the city).

Curitiba hosts the Federal University of Paraná, one of the first universities in Brazil, established in Curitiba in 1913, which is the same year in which electric streetcars were first deployed.

World Cup Brazil 2014: Salvador

May 16, 2010

If, as FIFA and CBF say, an important factor to choose the host cities of the World Cup in Brazil was how much a city represents the personality of the country, then Salvador could not be out of that list.

Check out more information about the World Cup in Salvador and accommodation in Salvador and Bahia.

Salvador is the Brazilian city with the oldest History: it was near Salvador that Portuguese navigator Pedro Cabral discovered Brazil, and it was Salvador one of the first settlements in the country.

The Fonte Nova (New Fountain) stadium will be put to ground and rebuilt from scratch to stage the games in 2014.

Salvador da Bahia (full: São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, in English: “Holy Savior of All Saints’ Bay”) is a city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia.

Salvador is also known as Brazil’s capital of happiness due to its easygoing population and countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival.

Salvador is the third most populous Brazilian city, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and it is the ninth most populous city in Latin America.

The city of Salvador is notable in Brazil for its cuisine, music and architecture. Over 80% of the population of metropolitan region of Salvador has Black African ancestry, the African influence in many cultural aspects of the city makes it the center of Afro-Brazilian culture. More and more foreign tourists are coming to Salvador interested in knowing the roots of Africa in the Americas.

The historical center of Salvador, frequently called the Pelourinho, is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture with historical monuments dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.

Salvador is a major export port, lying at the heart of the Recôncavo Baiano, a rich agricultural and industrial region encompassing the northern portion of coastal Bahia. The local terrain is diverse ranging from flat to rolling to hills and low mountains.

A particularly notable feature is the escarpment that divides Salvador into the Cidade Alta (“Upper Town” – rest of the city) and the Cidade Baixa (“Lower Town” – northwest region of the city), the former some 85 m (279 ft) above the latter,with the city’s cathedral and most administrative buildings standing on the higher ground. An elevator (the first installed in Brazil), known as Elevador Lacerda (photo), has connected the two sections since 1873, having since undergone several upgrades.

The Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport connects Salvador with Brazilian cities and also operates international flights.

World Cup Brazil 2014: Porto Alegre

May 15, 2010

Porto Alegre ( “Joyous Port” or “Happy Harbour”) is the eleventh most populous city in Brazil and the nucleous of Brazil’s fourth largest metropolitan area (smaller than Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte). Porto Alegre is the only city in the World to boast two clubs which were World Champions: Grêmio (1983) and Internacional (2007).

With such credentials, it was no surprise that Porto Alegre was appointed as one of the host cities of the World Cup 2014. After a fierce dispute among the two clubs, FIFA decided that matches in the city will be held in International arena, the Beira-Rio, which will be refurbished for the World Cup.

It is also the capital city of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, and for that reason it is the capital further into the temperated zone, and presents the lowest average temperatures in Brazil. However, it must be noticed that Porto Alegre is as far to the South as, for example, Miami is to to the  North; also, the entire Europe is further to the North than Porto Alegre.

Porto Alegre is one of the most important cultural, political and economic centers of Brazil. Two Mercosul countries, Argentina and Uruguay, border Rio Grande do Sul, and several transnational companies have offices in Porto Alegre.

Porto Alegre was founded in 1742 by immigrants from the Azores, Portugal. In the late 19th century the city received many immigrants from other parts of the world, particularly Germany, Italy, and Poland. The vast majority of the population is of European descent.

The city lies on the eastern bank of the Rio Guaiba (Guaiba River), which converge along with other five rivers to form the Lagoa dos Patos (Lagoon of the Ducks), a giant freshwater lagoon navigable by even the largest of ships. This five-river junction has become an important alluvial port as well as a chief industrial and commercial center of Brazil.

Porto Alegre has a long coastline on the Guaíba Lake, and its topography is punctuated by 40 hills. In the lake, a vast body of water, a maze of islands facing the city creates an archipelago where a unique ecosystem makes possible abundant wildlife. The city area concentrates 28% of the native flora of Rio Grande do Sul, with 9,288 species. Among these, there are many trees which are the vestiges of the Atlantic Forest. Fauna are also diversified, specially in the islands and hills.

Until a few years ago, Porto Alegre hosted the World Social Forum, an initiative of several non-government organizations; after a more right-wing oriented Government was elected, the Forum moved to India.

World Cup Brazil 2014: Sao Paulo

May 15, 2010

Being the largest city, and the one with most tradition in football in Brazil, it was no surprise that Sao Paulo was appointed as one of the host cities of the World Cup Brazil.

Matches in São Paulo are planned to take place in the stadium Morumbi, a private stadium which belongs to São Paulo Futebol Clube. As there is a consensus that the final match of the World Cup should be in Maracanã, the largest stadium in Brazil, Morumbi is competing to be the stadium of the opening match (FIFA, however, declared that the stadium is not up to the required standards).  (Update: Sao Paulo was chosen to host the opening match of the World Cup, in the yet-to-be-built stadium Itaquerao, on June 12 2014 – see schedule).

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest and richest city in the southern hemisphere, the world’s 7th largest metropolitan area, and the most populous city proper in the Western World (estimated population of 11,037,593 resident). Brazilians often refer to the city as “Sampa.”

The city is the capital of the state of São Paulo, the most populous Brazilian state. The name of the city honors Saint Paul. São Paulo exerts strong national and regional influence in Politics (the last two Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Lula were from São Paulo), commerce and finance as well as arts and entertainment.

Paulista Avenue is the most important financial center in the country and South America. The city is home to the São Paulo Stock Exchange, or BOVESPA, the Future Markets, and the Cereal Market Stock Exchanges.

The city has many renowned landmarks, such as the Museu Paulista do Ipiranga, the gothic Metropolitan Sé Cathedral, the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), the Monumento à Bandeira, the Niemeyer’s Ibirapuera complex Bienal, planetarium, and museums, as well as several other monuments.

People from the city of São Paulo are known as paulistanos, while paulistas designates anyone from the whole of São Paulo state, including the paulistanos.

São Paulo is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, architecture, gastronomy (no other city in Brazil compares to São Paulo in quantity, variety and quality of restaurants), hotels infrastructure, and multitude of skyscrapers.

The Franco Montoro International Airport operates many domestic and international flights; this airport is situated in the city of Guarulhos, metropolitan area of São Paulo.  The airport of Congonhas is located in the central area of São Paulo, operates domestic flights only, and is the main hub in Brazil.