By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Sports Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With the public concern that Brazil won’t be prepared in time to host the 2014 World Cup kick-off, president Dilma Rousseff is demanding checks every three months to ensure projects remain on schedule. Rousseff’s objective is to prove to the world that Brazil is ready to host major world events, and to expose the managers of city and stadium projects who are falling behind.
The warning from the president has intensified the pressure and spotlight on all twelve host cities, especially those overseeing construction works.
Any failure in three years time could have serious political repercussions for anyone in the firing line. Brazilian minister for sport Orlando Silva has thrown his support behind President Rousseff’s actions.
“We know what the problems are and we know how to resolve them,” he said last week. “Anyone who does not deliver as promised will have to pay the political price for this.”
The move is seen by the majority as a good one to avoid any embarrassing surprises later down the line; with a competition as gargantuan as the World Cup, and with strict deadlines in place, timing is of the essence. The international fallout if Brazil fails to deliver could be disastrous.
In addition, 2014 is the year of the next presidential election. Brazil’s, and subsequently, Rousseff’s success or failure in hosting the football tournament is seen by many as pivotal in her being elected for a second term.
“In accordance with public interest, everything should be done to avoid an awkward situation,” Rousseff commented. At the first meeting, which will take place later this month, Rousseff’s focus will be on transport; namely, travel across cities to stadiums as well as inter city travel for fans following their countries across Brazil.
She has also asked the new Secretary of Civil Aviation and the new director of Infraero, the company responsible for the restoration and rebuilding of several Brazilian airports, for a detailed analysis of the current situation. As the Brazilian economy becomes increasingly stronger, airports are struggling with the sudden influx of tourists from across the globe.
The biggest transport problems presently lie in Fortaleza and Brasília. In the North-Eastern city, Luizianne Lins, the town mayor, has still not started work on widening roads, nor has he possessed the land earmarked for construction of the BRT, supposedly Fortaleza’s new express bus network.
In Brasília, work on a similar system has also stalled. Government ministers have blamed the slow work on restrictions on getting public work underway and have called for more lenient regulations regarding building work related to the World Cup.
São Paulo still remains the country’s main stadium concern, with no suggestions forthcoming over whether public money or a private investor will provide the funds for the new 65,000 seat stadium.
While it has been reported that Rousseff was willing to support the construction of a new São Paulo stadium for the World Cup, plans still not finalized, it becomes less realistic with each passing week.