By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – Representatives for the twelve Brazilian host cities of the World Cup 2014 had a meeting last Thursday with the Minister of Sports, Orlando Silva, to discuss preparations for the international event.

Minister of Sports Orlando Silva and Minister of Tourism Luiz Barreto, met representatives of the twelve host cities last week. Photo by Roosewelt Pinheiro/ABr

The meeting was called by Ricardo Teixeira, head of both the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and the Local Organizing Committee of WC 2014, who sent a tough warning to the twelve cities, since most of them didn’t respect the deadline FIFA established concerning the construction and renovation of the stadiums. The deadline was on March 1st, but only three of the cities started the works on schedule.

Teixeira demanded written explanations from the cities that have not met the deadline, and also stated that stronger measures, such as losing their hosting rights, may be taken if the cities do not change their attitude. Another deadline established was that the construction must start before May 3rd. Teixeira said this new date must not be considered an extension in the schedule, since FIFA, CBF and the Organizing Committee know who has respected the deadline and who has not, and this might be taken into account in the future.

The Maracanã Stadium as it is now, without a roof over the lower seats, photo by www.copa2014.gov.br
The Maracanã Stadium as it is now, without a roof over the lower seats, photo by www.copa2014.gov.br.

The Rio de Janeiro state government itself took the initiative to start working on the Maracanã Stadium on March 1st, with the installation of four access ramps that will improve the evacuation time of the stadium.

According to FIFA regulations, evacuating a stadium must take no more then a maximum of eight minutes. Previously at crowded events, leaving the Maracanã Stadium took more than half an hour. This work will take 45 days to complete, and will cost R$100,000, which is only 0.2 percent of the total money invested in the Maracanã refurbishment out of a grand total of R$200 million.

In the meeting with the host cities’ representatives, Minister Orlando Silva reminded them that 2010 is an election year, and according to the Brazilian constitution no contracts using public funds can be made in the four months that precede an election. Therefore, June 3rd is the last day any contracts can be made this year. Silva said the government is certainly pulling its weight, since BNDES and Caixa Econômica Federal promptly offered resources for the twelve host cities.

“We have already done what we could, which was offering the resources. The cities are solely responsible for their operations. I gave them a warning about the electoral issue, and I’m sure they will respect their compromises”, said Silva during the meeting.

Another reason behind the gathering was presenting the Casa Brasil project, a program created by the Ministry of Tourism. Minister Luiz Barreto attended the meeting to talk about Casa Brasil, saying it is going to be a 3,000m2 space in Johannesburg destined to promote the Brazil World Cup during South Africa 2010.

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