(WFI) FIFA announced today that its executive committee will take a more hands-on role in preparations for the Brazil 2014 World Cup, with South Africa 2010 CEO Danny Jordaan and his Russian 2018 counterpart Alexey Sorokin appointed as special advisers.

The new-look FIFA Brazil 2014 Organising Committee convened in Zurich, its first meeting under new leadership following Ricardo Teixeira’s resignation from the Brazilian FA, Brazil 2014 organising committee and the FIFA executive.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who opened the meeting, welcomed José Maria Marin, Teixeira’s replacement as the LOC chairman, and the newly appointed FIFA Executive Committee member from Brazil, Marco Polo del Nero.

A FIFA statement said its executive members would be more involved in Brazil 2014’s preparations.

“To underline the significance of the FIFA World Cup for world football’s governing body, the complete FIFA Executive Committee is now, for the first time, part of this decision-making forum which is responsible for monitoring and organising each edition of FIFA’s flagship event,” the statement said.

FIFA said Jordaan and Sorokin were being brought on board as special
advisers “to ensure that the committee benefits from previous
experiences and future preparations”.

The move is a concerted effort by Blatter to ease the burden of responsibility on secretary general Jerome Valcke, who has been blasted by Brazil’s government for criticising the slow pace of preparations. The Swiss also wants to ensure work is stepped up across the World Cup project, including the problem areas of host stadia construction and transport infrastructure, to deliver the Confederations Cup and World Cup on time.

“After the re-confirmation received from President Dilma Rousseff and the Brazilian government on the fulfilment of all guarantees, we are confident that despite the many tasks still to be completed by all of us, Brazil will stage an exceptional FIFA World Cup in 2014,” Blatter said.

CONMEBOL president Nicolás Leoz, who chairs the FIFA Brazil 2014 committee, said the panel had today received “for the first time, a very in-depth update on the status of preparations in all aspects, including the important sustainability strategy plan.

“This is vital as we have a responsibility that goes beyond the provision of the facilities for the event.

“We must ensure that we maximise the positive effects for the benefit of all Brazilians and also minimise the negative impact, especially on the environment.”

This will be also reflected in the official slogan, which is due to be launched in the next two months. The Brazil Local Organising Committee board meeting will set the date at its next meeting in Rio de Janeiro on May 9.

Ricardo Trade, Brazil 2014’s chief operations officer, provided a comprehensive report on World Cup preparations, in particular on the key facilities ranging from the selection of team base camps, to pitch management, stadium upgrades and construction work.

According to the FIFA release, members of its own Brazil 2014 committee “reiterated the need for appropriate infrastructure to ensure a pleasant experience for the thousands of fans travelling to Brazil and the millions attending the matches across Brazil, starting with the airport operations and also including accommodation and local transport”.

It added: “The huge interest in the event has also been underlined by the positive results that have been achieved in the sale of hospitality packages to date.”

Meanwhile, a vote by the Brazilian Congress on the 2014 World Cup bill, which provides financial and legal guarantees to organise the event, is due to be held today. But it must still be rubberstamped by the senate and president Rousseff to become law, which is not expected until next month.

The next meeting of the FIFA Brazil World Cup Organising Committee is slated for Sept. 26.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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