FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says, despite concerns, the World Cup stadia in Brazil are nearly ready and “demand is amazing” for tickets.
The tournament opens on June 12, one month from Monday.
“It’s important to work with the cities and states because they are responsible for these areas,” said Valcke in a FIFA.com interview. “We will do our homework, installing all our systems in the stadiums.
“That’s also an important part of the structure of a World Cup. You feel that the competition is coming, so there is an excitement.”
He added that testing is an important step, and FIFA will make sure the equipment at the stadia is in working order before the tournament kicks off.
Valcke also said that landing tickets for the event is becoming more difficult.
“You can always try to find a ticket, but [the supply] is very limited. The demand is amazing. I don’t think that we’ve ever had so many requests for tickets.”
The FIFA executive also praised the host “an amazing country.”
“[It is] a country which is about music, Samba, and a number of things which make Brazil unique in the world. My advice to the fans is to prepare their trip, to avoid making decisions at the last minute.”
He contrasted the upcoming with the last one, saying there is a “big difference” between Brazil and South Africa.
“The country is big. Organize your trip. Make sure you have already decided where you will go.”
He also appears unconcerned about possible protests during the World Cup.
“It is easy to criticize FIFA. It’s easy to use the Confederations Cup or World Cup to organize demonstrations. But the target is wrong if the target is that FIFA are the reason for what’s happening in a country.
“If a country is bidding for a World Cup, it’s with the idea of developing the country and not with the idea of destroying the country.”
The quotes stand in contrast with frustrated comments Valcke made last week, saying FIFA had “been through hell” over the course of the preparations in Brazil.
“In Brazil there are certain politicians who are against the World Cup, and the fact is that we’ve been through hell, essentially because in Brazil you have three political levels and there has been a change — there was an election and we’re not necessarily talking with the same people (as before) — it was difficult to keep repeating the same message,” Valcke said last Tuesday, according to AFP.
“It’s not FIFA that is organizing the World Cup in Brazil, but Brazil which is organizing the World Cup in 12 towns.
“We’re supporting Brazil to ensure that it’s a success because the whole of FIFA is based around the success of the World Cup. If the World Cup is a failure then we, FIFA, are in trouble.”
Worker Dies at Cuiaba Stadium
A worker was electrocuted during construction of Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá, the eighth worker to lose their life during World Cup construction.
Arena Pantanal is one of the stadiums still not yet complete for the World Cup, which begins in June. An accelerated construction schedule has been blamed for the rise of workers deaths in Brazil on the World Cup Project.
Muhammad’Ali Maciel Afonso became the latest victim on a project where, since last November, there has been an average death of one worker per month. Workers in Cuiabá said he died of cardiac arrest a half an hour after receiving an electrical shock. Paramedics tried to revive Alfonso, but were unsuccessful.
Only two workers died during construction of stadia in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, and questionable safety laws in Qatar are under constant scrutiny for the run up to the 2022 World Cup.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke took to Twitter to offer his condolences to the victim’s family.
“Saddened by the death of worker Muhammad’Ali Maciel Afonso at Arena Pantanal today. My thoughts are with his family and colleagues,” Valcke tweeted.
Safety incidents have become more and more common as organizers rush to finish the stadia with one month to go to the games. Last week, a fan in Recife was killed after a toilet bowl was thrown from the upper deck of Arena Pernambuco.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to begin on June 12 in Sao Paolo.