Deputy sports minister Fernandes (INSIDER)

(WFI) Brazil’s deputy minister of sport tells World Football INSIDER there will be a positive legacy after the World Cup, and the stadiums will not become white elephants.

Luis Fernandes was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Football For Hope Festival in Caju, Rio de Janeiro.

There are fears that many of the 12 stadiums, particularly ones in remote areas such as Brasilia and Manaus, will not be fully utilised after the tournament – repeating the mistakes of World Cups in the past.

However, Fernandes was confident that Brazilian football would find a viable business strategy, improving the country’s football and delivering content to meet the high standards of the new venues.

“There is a huge legacy from the World Cup,” he told INSIDER. “The stadiums are fantastic stadiums, they are going to elevate the quality of football in Brazil after the World Cup.

“It will strengthen our regional and national championships and we have solutions for all the 12 stadiums that will guarantee economic returns in order to maintain the stadiums, so we’re very happy with all of this.”

The Brazil 2014 organising committee member recalled that the same criticism had been directed at the stadium in Brasilia before the start of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.

“The stadium in Brasilia continued to function after the Confederations Cup and in one year it had three times as many spectators for games, shows, as it had had four years before the Confederations

Brasilia’s national stadium, which hosted the Netherlands win over Brazil in the third place play-off match, is cited as a good example of legacy planning (Getty)

Cup,” Fernandes said.

“So there’s a very concrete example. It’s the same spirit, the same design, the same concept that will be implemented in the rest of the stadiums in the World Cup.”

Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao stadium, which hosts three football teams and has drawn the likes of Paul McCartney and Elton John to play concerts there in the past year, is another venue with a promising post-tournament legacy plan to become an attractive sports and entertainment destination.

Fernandes was joined by FIFA president Sepp Blatter and World Cup 2014 ambassador Ronaldo at the ceremony for the festival, which drew together 32 delegations of youngsters from Football for Hope-supported organisations. Over the course of the week, gender-mixed teams competed in a tournament designed to build social development through football.

Fernandes insisted Brazil had coped well with the challenges of the World Cup, as organisers switched their focus to fulfilling legacy pledges.

“All the problems we faced in the World Cup were localised problems. The public services functioned well, the airports functioned well, public transport functioned well, security functioned well although we had some localised problems [demonstrations].”

By Christian Radnedge in Rio

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