(WFI) Less than two weeks before the World Cup, FIFA has warned event organisers in three host cities to accelerate final preparations.
Secretary general Jerome Valcke spoke of his concerns about venues in Natal, Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo as he wrapped up his final inspections of the 12 host cities. His two-week check-up concluded on Thursday.
According ot AFP, Valcke said Natal was up against the clock to finish preparations in time, while in Port Alerge there was still plenty of work to do to get the stadium ready.
Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians is under fierce scrutiny ahead of the June 12 opener between Brazil and Croatia. Work on the stadium has been hit by chronic delays; it was due to be finished 5 months ago.
A second test event has been hastily organized on Sunday, following orders from FIFA.
On Friday, it emerged that a full test of the 68,000-seat Itaquerao stadium is unlikely.
Only 40,000 tickets are being sold for a Brazilian league match between Corinthians and Botafogo because the remaining temporary seats installed just one week have not yet been certified as safe by city authorities. Checks and approval of the seating structure could come just hours before the match, allowing more tickets to be sold.
The failure to properly test the stadium at full capacity would be another headache an increasingly frustrated Valcke could do without as kick-off looms.
Last week, he warned that a test of the venue “under full match conditions, including the temporary seats” was vitally important with heads of state and other VIPs in attendance.
A leaking roof was reportedly the only major problem identified following a first test game at the Sao Paulo venue on May 18.
Brazilian football legend Ronaldo has admitted that only a third of World Cup-related infrastructure projects will be ready by the start of the tournament.
A member of Brazil 2014 LOC, Ronaldo has accompanied Valcke and sports minister Aldo Rebelo on numerous visits around the 12 host cities over the past 18 months.
He has witnessed
first-hand Brazil’s struggle to upgrade roads, rail links and airports.
“I think we’re missing an opportunity. A series of investments were promised that won’t be delivered. Only 30 percent will be delivered,” the two-time World Cup winner told a forum organized by newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, according to an AFP report.
Ronaldo also clarified comments he made last week in which the former Real Madrid and Barcelona star said he was “ashamed” of delays in World Cup preparations.
“My shame is for the people, who were hoping for major investments, that’s the great legacy of the Cup for us. They were expecting a lot and they’re the ones most hurt by the situation,” he said.
Details of FIFA Global Stadium
FIFA has launched its Global Stadium – a social, online and mobile hub for the Brazil World Cup.
The aim is to help billions of football fans share their excitement and stay in touch with all the action.
The Global Stadium doors will open for each of the 64 matches of the tournament so that fans can follow the action live, minute-by-minute, and engage with friends, players, coaches and fellow fans across the globe while supporting their favourite teams at the tournament.
Fans can also exclusively win the actual kick-off ball from the match and vote for the Man of the Match.
FIFA.com has been redesigned in the run-up to the tournament with the social football fan in mind and this is complemented by a strong presence on social media.
In April, FIFA’s Facebook pages reached over 280 million users; the World Cup page currently has more than 18 million fans. There are over seven million FIFA followers on Twitter, who frequently retweet and engage in conversation across the six language accounts.
The FIFA.com site is optimised for mobile, and the official World Cup app will launch in early June.
“We aim to provide an all-round digital companion so that billions of fans can join in and share their excitement,” said Walter De Gregorio, FIFA’s communications chief.
“Only the World Cup and digital can create this worldwide conversation.”
FIFA will be using the following hashtags: #WorldCup and #Joinin while each match will have its own hashtag.