World Cup ticket pie gets sliced into thin pieces
By Paul Kennedy, Soccer America, July 20, 2013
FIFA announced the ticketing policies for the approximately 3.3 million tickets that will be available for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The cheapest tickets for public sale outside Brazil will be $90, while ticket prices will go as low of $15 to Brazilian students and senior citizens and those who are a part of the Bolsa Familia welfare program.
But of those 3.3 million tickets, the public will only be able to purchase 1.1 million. The rest of the tickets will be sold as part of travel packages or go to organizations that have some connection to FIFA or the World Cup, including participating teams whose federations will be able to distribute a limited number of tickets to their own fans.
Category 1: $175-$990
Category 2: $135-$660
Category 3: $90-$440
Ticket applications for up to a maximum of four seats per match and a maximum of seven matches — no more than one match a day — may be submitted Aug. 20-Oct. 10 at fifa.com after which a lottery will be held to determine who gets the tickets if there are more requests for tickets than available tickets.
A second phase will begin Dec. 8, two days after the World Cup draw, and continue through Jan. 30 for fans to request a maximum of four seats per match and a maximum of seven matches for the team they want to follow. Once again, a lottery will be held to determine who gets the tickets if there are more requests for tickets than available tickets to follow a certain team.
Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis after each phase of ticket allotments for unfilled blocks of tickets — if that happens.
FIFA’s distribution of tickets is in part dictated by Brazilian laws requiring local citizens have access to affordable tickets.
In addition to a guarantee of up to 300,000 discounted tickets in the lowest Category 4, up 1 percent of all available tickets must be offered to disabled customers.
Tickets for the disabled have been set at Category 3 prices, and disabled fans can request a complimentary ticket for a companion who will accompany them to the match.
701,079 International & Brazilian public (Categories 1-3)
400,000 Brazilian public (Category 4)
390,364 Supporter groups
(8 percent of available tickets will go to fans of each team and sold and distributed by their federations.)
201,541 FIFA, continental confederations, non-participating federations
119,742 Participating federations (including Brazilian federation)
(about 80 percent are used for promotional purposes.)
(including tickets available to those accompanying disabled fans.)
100,000 Government and stadium workers
66,273 Broadcast partners
59,918 Local organizing committee
41,900 FIFA VIPs
IOC’s Rogge defends Brazil’s spending on Olympics, World Cup
Anti-riot police are seen here outside the Maracana stadium before the final game of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 30. Protests in the country are becoming more frequent with the Olympics and World Cup headed there. (Christophe Simon/Getty Images)
IOC President Jacques Rogge defended the massive public spending on the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil, saying the world’s two biggest sports events will leave long-lasting benefits “for generations to come.”
Responding Wednesday to the recent wave of protests across Brazil, Rogge said the billions of dollars being spent on next year’s World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will bring major infrastructure improvements to the country.
“Public investments are for the long term,” Rogge said in a teleconference. “Public investments are not for the short term. It’s not for the two weeks of the Olympic Games or the month of the FIFA World Cup.
“The investments are for generations to come, be it the metro, be it the bus line, be it improvements of the airport, be it of improvement of the harbour. This will serve [the] community for a very long time.”
The street demonstrations that hit Brazil last month began as opposition to transportation fare hikes, but expanded to include protests against a wide range of grievances, including the high cost of the World Cup and Olympics. The protests took place as Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup, a warm-up tournament for the World Cup.
A Brazilian government report last year put the projected cost of stadiums, airport renovations and other projects for the World Cup at $13.3 billion. City, state and other local governments are spending more than $12 billion on projects for the Olympics in Rio, the first city in South America to host the games.
Rogge said the International Olympic Committee will need to get its message across that the games will have a positive impact in Brazil.
“We’ll have to explain very clearly to all the public that the investments made for the Olympic Games [are] going to give a sustainable legacy for generations to come,” he said. “That is the message that we are sending and we’ll be making very clearly in the future.
“Yes, the games are a force for good, the games improve a society. It has to be explained because on first sight most people don’t know exactly what the investments are.”
With Brazil hosting the World Cup and Olympics back to back, the country is facing major challenges to finance and organize both events. Rogge said Brazil is up to the task.
“I believe the FIFA World Cup will be a big boost for the Olympic Games,” he said. “I believe the FIFA World Cup will be a success. Organization-wise, it seems to go in the right direction. There is, of course, the famous love for soccer and football of the Brazilians. (Brazil) seems to have a very good home team.
“All the factors put together make me optimistic. As far as public funds are concerned, this is the sovereign decision of any government that organizes the Olympic Games.”
While Rio has experienced delays in some of its Olympic preparations, Rogge said the project remains on track.
“There is still a lot of things to be achieved before 2016,” he said. “We have urged our friend of the organizing committee to accelerate. But I remain optimistic and there is absolutely no concern whatsoever on the quality of the games.”
Rogge also reiterated his confidence in Russia’s security measures for next year’s Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, despite the threat posed by an Islamist insurgency in the area. Last week, a top Chechen rebel warlord called on militants to disrupt the Sochi Games.
“As far as security is concerned, it is always a top priority for the IOC and the security is provided mostly by the host public authorities,” Rogge said. “We are in constant contact with them. I’m sure they will deliver.”
On a separate issue, Rogge confirmed that the IOC executive board has decided not to add any new disciplines or events to the sports program for the Rio Games.
The IOC had been examining proposals by sports federations to add new events, including 3-on-3 basketball and BMX freestyle in cycling. Swimming had also proposed including new events.
Rogge said the federations made too many requests that would take the Olympics beyond the cap of 10,500 athletes and 300 medal events.
“The federations have expanded over this request, asked for more athletes, more events and more medals,” Rogge said. “We decided not to inflate the games. We will not accommodate for more events for 2016.”
Rogge, who steps down in September after 12 years in office, said future changes will be left to his successor. He said the IOC will undertake a new study on disciplines and decide on any changes in 2017 for the 2020 Games.
Swiss greeted by grazing goats on World Cup training pitch
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Mark Pangallo
BERNE (Reuters) – Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld was greeted with broken goal posts and goats grazing on the pitch when he visited the team’s planned World Cup training pitch in Brazil on Wednesday.
Swiss television showed Hitzfeld struggling to keep a straight face as he described conditions at the run-down Antonio Fernandes Municipal Stadium in Guaruja, an hour and-a-half drive from Sao Paulo.
The stadium appeared completely abandoned with terraces in a filthy condition and the dressing rooms locked.
Hitzfeld said he had been promised the venue would be completely renovated in time for next year’s tournament.
“We mustn’t get too upset about the state of the place and we are convinced that those responsible will keep their promises,” he said.
“They’ve told us that the whole training arena will be modernised and ready for us. There will be a new pitch, the dressing rooms will be rebuilt and the tribunes.”
The situation could not be more different to Switzerland where even the country’s smallest clubs keep their facilities, including the pitch, in immaculate condition.
The Swiss, who sit top of UEFA’s Group E in qualifying and are set to make their third consecutive World Cup, were happy with their planned hotel, which is situated on the beach front nearby.
Maracana is open for business
After years of renovations, the fabled Maracana Stadium has reopened in Rio de Janeiro.
An exhibition match featuring teams led by former Brazilian stars Bebeto and Ronaldo played Saturday before a crowd of 25,000, many of them workers who have labored to modernize and upgrade the Maracana, site of the 1950 World Cup’s final match.
A crowd estimated at 200,000 attended the final game of the 1950 competition, in which Uruguay snatched the title by beating Brazil, 2-1.
Once renovations are complete, capacity will be 82,238 for the facility that will be the showpiece venue for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. It will host a friendly with England June 2 and as a Confederation Cup venue stages a match against Italy June 16.
Brazil president Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were among the spectators. The stadium was closed nearly three years ago as part of the renovations, and many of the workers have been at the site since 2007. Ronaldo, a member of the 2002 World Cup-winning team, praised the workers in an address to the crowd.
“Congratulations to all of you, you are the heroes of this transformation,” Ronaldo said.
A second test match will be played May 15 with 50 percent capacity before the official re-opening at full capacity June 2.
The Rio state government has invested an estimated $430 million to renovate the stadium and surrounding areas, where a complex of restaurants and shops are to be constructed. Two consortiums are competing for a 35-year lease to operate the Maracana and its surroundings
Privatization of the site has met with resistance. A banner was unfurled inside the stadium that read: “No to privatization and demolition.”
“We want to alert people to what is happening,” Amanda Asuncao told AFP in reference to the forced evictions of properties around the stadium area. “Privatization will take Maracana and soccer away from the people and the majority for the benefit of the elite.”
FANS THROW CAXIROLAS IN PROTEST. All 2014 World Cup stadium test games — staged to test the readiness of organizers — have not gone well.
A match between Vitoria and Freddy Adu‘s Bahia was briefly interrupted when fans threw hundreds of caxirolas — a maraca-like instrument — on the field to protest the home team Vitoria’s play.
The hand-sized caxirola — based on the African instrument caxixi — is Brazil’s replacement to the noisy vuvuzela of South Africa 2010 infamy — indeed, it’s the official fan instrument of the World Cup.
“It doesn’t mean that something like this will happen if Brazil is losing a match during the World Cup,” Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said.
That remains to be seen as Brazil’s national team was loudly jeered by nearly 50,000 fans in Belo Horizonte after another subpar performance in a 2-2 tie with Chile.
An earlier “evento-teste” at Fortaleza’s Arena Castelao was marred by the death of two fans on the way to the state league match between Fortaleza and Ceara.
Brazil to miss FIFA deadline for World Cup stadiums
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
An aerial view shows the final touches of the roof installation at the Maracana Stadium, which is undergoing renovation for the 2014 World Cup, in Rio de Janeiro April 9, 2013. (REUTERS)
BRASILIA/SAO PAULO – More than half a million tickets have been sold for the Confederations Cup in June, but host nation Brazil has yet to finish the main stadiums to be used in the dress rehearsal for the 2014 soccer World Cup.
On the eve of yet another FIFA deadline, Brazil has delivered only three of the six venues for the eight-nation warm-up starting in two months.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA had demanded that all six stadiums be ready by this past December but construction delays forced it to extend the deadline until April 15. Even with that extra time, all the stadiums will not be ready.
The cities of Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza and Salvador have complied with the timetable and delivered their stadiums, while Recife will open its Arena Pernambuco on Sunday, one day ahead of the final FIFA deadline.
In Brasilia, 5,000 workers toil around the clock to finish the Mane Garrincha National Stadium, bolting seats into concrete galleries and draining the field where rolls of grass have still to be laid for the pitch. The $500 million colonnaded arena in the center of Brazil’s modern capital is the most expensive of the 12 venues that will host the World Cup.
Brazil will face Japan here in the opening game of the Confederations Cup on June 15, the first test of the South American nation’s ability to organize two rapidly approaching global sporting events, next year’s World Cup and the Olympic Games two years later.
Building delays and cost overruns are threatening to turn the two events into an international embarrassment for Brazil instead of showcasing its arrival as a major economic power.
Brazilian officials, however, maintain that all will be fine. Opening Salvador’s Fonte Nova stadium last week, President Dilma Rousseff said five-times world champion Brazil will prove to be unbeatable on and off the sports field by “exceeding expectations” in organizing the global soccer tournament.
The biggest problem is with the venerable Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s largest stadium built for the 1950 World Cup. The arena is scheduled to hold the final match of the tournament on June 30 but is still undergoing finishing touches to a $400 million refurbishment, it’s third costly overhaul in 12 years.
The pitch has been laid and more than half the 78,000 seats have been installed, but work is still being done on the massive roof while access areas to the stadium have not been started.
Maracanã was supposed to be ready by this past December but that date was repeatedly pushed back. The earliest it will be handed over to FIFA is April 27, FIFA and Rio state officials said, and there are doubts the stadium will be finished even then.
An exasperated FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke reluctantly acknowledged last week that Brazil will not complete its preparations on time.
“Not all operational arrangements will be 100 percent” for the Confederations Cup, Valcke wrote on FIFA’s website, warning that such delays would not be tolerated for the World Cup.
“The deadline for the FIFA World Cup stadiums delivery stands firm as December 2013. There will be no compromise,” he wrote. Valcke said the scale of next year’s World Cup required a minimum six-month operational set-up.
With an estimated 3 million spectators flocking to 12 stadiums in a dozen cities across Brazil – more than half a million of them foreign visitors – the 32-nation, 64-game World Cup will be a major logistical challenge for Brazil.
Brazil’s World Cup preparations have been criticized several times by FIFA, including Valcke’s statement last year that the country needed “a kick in the backside.”
Delays in upgrading airports and urban transport could cause a logistical nightmare with so many soccer fans attending games. Projects to add bus lanes, trams and monorails in Brasilia, Fortaleza, Manaus, Salvador and Sao Paulo will not be ready in time, according to the government agency that audits public spending.
The Confederations Cup brings together the champions of FIFA’s six geographic confederations, along with the current world champions Spain and the World Cup hosts. It is considered an important organizational test ahead of the World Cup.
Demand for the Confederations Cup has been high and more than 546,000 tickets have already been sold, according to FIFA.
At best, it looks like the Confederations Cup matches will be played in stadiums that are usable, but not finished. One worry is that Brazilian officials will declare the works complete and open them to the public even though they are not ready, a common practice in Brazil.
Officials in Rio opened a massive concert hall and music complex in 2008 only to undertake another four years of works because the original construction was so shoddy.
Rio’s Engenhão stadium, opened in 2007 for the Pan American Games, was closed last month because of fears the roof could blow down in high winds.
The grass was so poor at the brand new Gremio Arena in Porto Alegre, a stadium that will not be used for World Cup, that the club had to play games elsewhere to let it mend.
FIFA requires that the new stadiums be tested twice, preferably with soccer games. At Maracanã, a first test will be behind closed doors on April 27 when local World Cup organizing committee members Ronaldo and Bebeto try out the field playing with a group of friends.
The big test will come on June 2, just two weeks before the Confederations Cup kicks off, when Brazil plays a friendly against England.
Brazil lost valuable time preparing for the World Cup by taking two years just to decide on which 12 cities would host the games, a problem soccer star Ronaldo says is cultural.
“We leave everything to the last minute,” Ronaldo told O Globo newspaper on Sunday. “We’ve had since 2007 to get organized. We wouldn’t be under such pressure today if we had.”
FIFA nervous about Maracana for Confederations Cup
Two days before Thursday’s scheduled visit to the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke expressed about concerns about it readiness to host Confederations Cup matches in June.
“The city I’m traveling to in two days is the one which is causing FIFA the most concern,” he told reporters during a trip to the Arena do Copa outside Recife.
FIFA wants the six stadiums to host Confederations Cup matches to be ready by mid-April so final inspections and needed changes can be implemented.
“The date of completion is very important so we can test them before the start,” Valcke said. “May is too late and that could cause a lot of trouble for FIFA, for the World Cup and for Brazil.”
Renovation deadlines have been pushed back several times for Maracana, which was built for the 1950 World Cup and has since undergone renovations at different times.
Work for the Confederations Cup and World Cup was due for completion in December, but the deadline was put back to February and then to the current mid-April deadline.
The work started in 2010 at a cost of $457 million and a friendly is scheduled to be played there between Brazil and England on June 2.
Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) technical director Virgilio Elisio said delays may force the Maracana work to be speeded up.
The Arena do Copa was less than half-complete when the local organizing committee conducted its first visit last year but officials say the work is 90 percent done.
“Now we have to work on the pitch, which is the most important project,” said Valcke. “The pitch will be planted in the new few weeks, but we don’t have much time for it to be ready. It’s important that they have the same conditions for all the matches, that is something we try to guarantee.”
DRONES SET FOR TEST. Four Israeli-made RQ-450 drones will be used to help provide security during the Confederations Cup. The unmanned planes are also expected to be part of the Brazilian Air Force’s security during the 2014 World Cup.
The drones will operate within Brazil’s borders and only be used extensively during the the Confederations Cup. Two have been in operation since 2011. The other two, which will be ready in March, feature better infrared cameras and enhanced communication systems.
Brazil is also working on getting a new radar system in place.
Who needs the Super Bowl?
Football’s Golden Years:
The people that help to make the game – From Wembley to The Kop, from the Stretford End to Colchester … and even a famous World Cup final, too
This picture was only taken 53 years ago; here you can see a section of the crowd at Wembley for the 1960 FA Cup final between Wolves and Blackburn. Many of the gentlemen look as if they are dressed for cricket at Lord’s with their jackets, shirts and ties.
Do you get the feeling this picture was taken in the days before tribalism in the game? This delightful snap shows Sheffield United supporters in London before the 1936 FA Cup final against Arsenal – more than 93,000 watched at Wembley as the Gunners won 1-0.
It has been said by many that one of the major changes in football over the past 20 years is the number of women attending matches – I have seen many old pictures, including this one of Colchester fans watching their team play Norwich in the 1950s, that shows the game has been popular with female fans for a lot longer
This picture appealed to my love of trains as well as football, with Fulham fans at London’s old Addison Road station in 1957 to catch a special supporters club train to Ipswich for an FA Cup third round tie – they would have come home happy as well, with the London club winning 3-2 at Portman Road.
There are certain experiences as a football fan you’re never going to forget, and my first time on The Kop certainly falls into that category – here’s a picture of the legendary terrace in 1970, which gives you some idea of how just packed it could get on there. The Kop was rebuilt in 1994, with seats installed.
How can you not love this picture? Craven Cottage is one of my favourite grounds, it always seems to hark back to a different era – if you’ve been there recently, you’ll notice that some things haven’t changed since this 1958 picture of schoolboys celebrating a Fulham goal against Bristol Rovers in the sixth round of the FA Cup. The London side won the match 3-1, but were beaten by Manchester United in the semi-finals.
I can’t believe there are more than a handful of you reading this that haven’t heard of the ‘White Horse’ Cup final – the first match played at Wembley, the 1923 FA Cup final between Bolton and West Ham, which was memorable for the chaotic scenes beforehand and the enormous crowds that poured into the stadium. The image of PC George Scorey on his white horse ‘Billy’ is one of the truly great FA Cup images.
This is the only fan that gets their own billing here – I just thought this Preston supporter, seen here in London’s Trafalgar Square before North End’s FA Cup final clash with Huddersfield in 1938, deserved it. I suspect he had a pretty good time after the game too, as Preston were 1-0 winners at Wembley.
One thing stands out a mile from this picture of Manchester United’s famous Stretford End in 1969, the numbers of children in attendance – you just don’t see these kind of scenes any more at matches, not least because of the price of tickets now.
Millwall fans climb onto the floodlight posts and scoreboard to watch a match against Newcastle at The Den in 1957
I am quite partial to pictures of unusual vantage points, and here people watch from nearby balconies and roofs of buildings as England play Malta in a European Championship qualifier in Valletta in 1971
How much do you still wish there were special football trains today? Here Arsenal fans are at London’s King’s Cross station to catch the train to Huddersfield for the FA Cup semi final against Grimsby in 1936
A glorious picture here of a young fan being passed over the heads of the crowd to a better viewing position at the front of the terrace, during a match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in 1947
Host cities unveil official World Cup posters
Events were held in the 12 host cities of the 2014 World Cup to officially unveil publicity posters for the tournament
The twelve 2014 FIFA World Cup host cities came together this Sunday (25.11) to add another ingredient to the preparation of the tournament. Throughout the day, each host city staged an event to launch the official posters.
The São Franciso de Assis Church, part of the Pampulha complex stands out in the poster of the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. On the poster, images from the outside of the Church overlap to form the pentagons of a ball. Belo Horizonte shall host three Confederations Cup matches – including one of the semi-finals – and six 2014 FIFA World Cup games.
The image shows the Cathedral, one of the city’s symbol and considered a global architecture icon. The colours of the player kicking the ball reinforce the multiple ethnicities that make up Brazilian society and refer to the presence of the five continents at the tournament. The National Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia shall be the stage of the Confederations Cup opening match and seven 2014 FIFA World Cup games.
On the poster of the capital city of the state of Mato Grosso, the jabiru, bird which is a symbol of the Pantanal stands out. Football is represented by the ball at the player’s feet. People’s excitement with the event is translated into the ball’s movement and the shapes surrounding it. The map of the state in the middle of the ball shows that Cuiabá is ready to host four 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.
The Brazilian pine, tree which is a symbol of the city and of the Paraná state, is omnipresent in Curitiba’s poster. In all, 34,949 people took part in choosing the official poster, voting on the City Hall’s website. The city shall host four 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.
The ball that looks as if it is being launched out of the Castelão is the image of the capital of the state of Ceará for the 2014 World Cup. The football carries the city’s main symbols. The textures and lines used in the drawing refer to a modern city that does not forget its traditions. Fortaleza shall host three Confederations Cup matches – including one of the semi-finals – and six 2014 FIFA World Cup games.
Two red parrots sitting on the crossbar summarises the relation that Manaus’ poster strived to portray for the World Cup: showing that, at the heart of the world’s largest tropical forest, everyone roots for nature. The capital of the state of Amazonas will host four 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.
The green of the forests. The yellow of the warm sands. The blue of the sea. Located at the corner of South America, Natal’s poster shows that they wait for the event with open arms. The picture portrays the Careca Mountain, at the Ponta Negra beach, one of the city’s most known sites. Natal shall host four 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.
Porto Alegre’s poster brings a player kicking a ball and the picture of the Gasômetro Plant, which represents the grandeur of the event and its legacy in relation to cultural and economic wealth, as well as technological and infrastructure development. The people on the poster, looking excited, represent the passion that Porto Alegre locals have for football. The capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul will be the stage of five 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.
Recife’s poster is full of moving colours and refers to the frevo, which is one of the state’s most famous cultural manifestations. With a small umbrella in hand, the frevo dancer performs light and agile movements, similar to acrobatics pulled off by footballers. Recife will be the stage of three Confederations Cup matches and five 2014 FIFA World Cup games.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro’s poster, chosen as a result of a national contest, represents the essence of the carioca (people from Rio), “moving in the rhythm of the sea and with the energy of the nature that surrounds him/her, as well as the heat from the sun”. The silhouette and the ball form a heart, which is at the centre of several layers, expressing the love the carioca feels for football. Each layer represents an aspect of Rio: the beach, the Sugar Loaf Mountain, the sea and the sky. Rio shall host three Confederations Cup matches and seven 2014 World Cup games, including both finals.
The Lacerda Lift turned into football goal posts and a ball being fired into the net stand out in Salvador’s poster. From the height of the towers of the world’s first public lift it is possible to see several of the city’s tourist sites. Salvador will be the stage of three Confederations Cup matches and six 2014 FIFA World Cup games.
The cosmopolitan and multiple features of São Paulo stands out in the city’s poster. The image reflects a metropolis where thousands of people live, celebrate and breathe football. Football is in the city’s blood, streets and its sea of buildings. São Paulo shall host six 2014 World Cup matches, including the opening game, with Brazil taking to the pitch.
No time for festivities in Brazil
By Paul Kennedy
Monday, Jan. 28
Monday was supposed to be a day of celebration for Brazil. It began the 500-day countdown until the 2014 World Cup starts.
Festivities promoting the event and demonstrating Brazil’s readiness — as it is — to host the tournament were planned.
But they were called off due to the tragedy in the southern city of Santa Maria, where 233 people were killed in a nightclub fire early Sunday morning.
Many of those killed in the fire were college students, engineering and agronomy students who represented Brazil’s future. Brazil has been one of the world’s great economic success stories, joining Russia, India and China in the acronym BRIC for the world’s new developing economic powers.
Brazil’s economic success has brought upward mobility with the growth of a huge middle class and new spending habits. This is the first generation of middle-class Brazilians for whom carrying around — and paying with — credit cards is the norm.
But as Time’s Tim Padgett reports, the clash between the new order and the old is believed to at the heart of the tragedy:
“[Because] so many club owners in developing countries like Brazil still live and think in the past, they continue to block the exits late at night—which survivors allege security guards were doing at Kiss as patrons tried to flee the fire, their bodies piling up at the obstructed door—to make sure customers don’t skip out on their tabs.”
While emergency personnel continued the search for victims and police began their investigation — there have already been three arrests — FIFA and Brazilian officials were in northeastern Brazil Sunday for the opening of Fortaleza’s Arena Castelao, the first of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup stadiums to be completed, with a doubleheader in the Copa do Nordeste.
All the key officials — FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke, Jose Maria Marin, president of the Brazilian soccer confederation, Brazil’s sports minister Aldo Rebelo and Ronaldo — were in Fortaleza for the doubleheader that went ahead as scheduled.
Matches in the Gaucho state league in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, where the fire took place, were cancelled.
“I am a father,” said Valcke. “And on behalf of FIFA send my sympathy to the relatives of the victims. I can not imagine the pain they are now, it is not natural for a parent to bury a child.”
Monday’s ceremonies in Brasilia were canceled, and the launch event of the official World Cup poster will now be held on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro.
“This is not the time for festivities,” Rebelo said on Sunday
Messi: World Cup the missing award
By ESPN staff
Four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi says the one thing missing from his trophy cabinet is the World Cup, claiming he would swap his personal awards for success at national team level.
Messi claimed his most recent accolade this week, capping a stunning year which saw him score a record 91 goals in 2012.
However, with the World Cup in neighbouring Brazil looming, the Argentina forward has declared his focus is now on winning the world’s biggest international tournament in 2014.
“Winning the World Cup is what is missing. The truth is, yes, I would swap a Ballon d’Or for the World Cup, I’ve always felt like that. Nothing compares with being world champion.
“I want to achieve things with Barcelona and with my country, which I’ve always said is my dream,” Messi is quoted as saying in The Sun.
Messi has garnered comparisons to compatriot Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to their last World Cup triumph in 1986. The 25-year-old insists such expectations – including criticism of his performances for La Albiceleste – in his homeland do not weigh on his mind, as Alejandro Sabella’s men currently sit atop the South American standings for 2014 qualification.
“It makes me so happy that many important people talk well of me,” he explained.
“Each year my objective is to grow, not to stay with what I have. As for what I don’t know, I want to try and learn and get better.
“Last year I was welcomed back home in a spectacular way because the people are now behind the national team. It had been a long time that this chemistry had been lost and I am happy we finished the year so well.
“We are working hard to give the people of Argentina the best, and many joys. Today, you can see the unity. That makes Argentina stronger.
“To see people talking well of the national team is different to see criticism from everywhere before you even set foot back. That hurts.”
Winter finals in 2022 could be considered
The Qatar Football Association president has admitted the country would consider an official request to make the 2022 World Cup a winter tournament.
With summer temperatures in the Persian Gulf state soaring above 50°C, fears world football’s showpiece occasion would be ruined by the searing heat have led to calls to change its traditional June-July slot.
On a visit to Dubai last week, UEFA President Michel Platini claimed “the best period” to stage it would be November and December, a suggestion the organisers are willing to take on board.
“When our bid was selected by FIFA, everyone knew the World Cup was due to be played in June and July,” QFA president Hamad ben Khalifa ben Ahmed Al-Thani told L’Equipe. “It’s true, though, that the tournament is about more than just Qatar. It’s universal. If FIFA and UEFA, notably, want to propose other dates, we have strong reasons to study that suggestion.
“For the moment, we’re going ahead with the plan that it’ll be held in the summer. We respect Michel Platini’s opinion, but it’s only an opinion as FIFA have not sent us an official request to study as yet.”
Platini also suggested the state, which numbers fewer than two million people, may share the tournament with its neighbours, just as the 2002 World Cup was co-hosted by Japan and South Korea. Al-Thani, however, ruled out such a move.
“In the agreement we signed with FIFA, it states only one country shall host the tournament. There’s no question of sharing it with two or three countries. The idea of a competition spread around the Gulf is not a bad idea in itself. But I can confirm: Qatar will be the sole host of the 2022 World Cup.”
The tournament will require the country’s relatively modest football infrastructure to be radically revamped. With ten of the 12 venues based around the capital, Doha, and the two in the north of the country easily accessible, supporters should have few logistical problems.
Nine of the stadiums need to be built from scratch, though this should pose little problem given Qatar’s virtually limitless resources, while there is no risk of ‘white elephants’ dotting the landscape post-tournament in a country where fans usually watch their football from their living room sofa rather than from the stands.
“We’re a lucid people. Stadiums of 45,000 are well above what we need,” Al-Thani explained. “So, once the World Cup is over, they’ll be reduced by 30 to 50% and the stands taken down will be given to countries in difficulty for them to put into their stadiums.”
Reuters, Dec 16, Reporting by Pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro; writing by Rex Gowar in London; Editing by Gene Cherry
The Castelao Arena in the Northeastern Brazilian city of Fortaleza became the first stadium to be inaugurated for the 2014 World Cup finals on Sunday.
Along with the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, to be opened on Dec. 21, they are the only stadiums to meet the December 2012 deadline set originally for next year’s Confederations Cup, a World Cup finals dress rehearsal.
President Dilma Rousseff attended the opening ceremony at the Castelao, which has been completely refurbished at a cost of 518.6 million Brazilian reals ($249.18 million) with a capacity for 67,000. ($1 = 2.0812 Brazilian reals)
She said inauguration of the first stadium for the 2014 tournament and Corinthians’ victory in the Club World Cup final in Japan earlier on Sunday showed Brazil’s strength on and off the soccer field.
“Brazil is capable of both things, winning on the football fields and building a stadium of this standing,” she said.
The biggest of the Northeastern venues, Castelao will host six World Cup matches including one of Brazil’s in the first round, a second-round game and a quarter-final.
It will also host three Confederations Cup matches including Brazil’s group stage meeting with Mexico on June 19, the stadium’s debut in an official FIFA tournament.
FIFA extended the deadline for the other Confederations Cup venues, Brasilia, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, until March while the remaining World Cup stadiums will be completed sometime during 2013.
“This is a very special day for us at FIFA because it marks the two great events that will take place in Brazil in the coming years, the Confederations Cup and the World Cup,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a message recorded in Tokyo where he was attending the Club World Cup and shown at the Castelao.
Brazil’s World Cup preparations have been criticised several times by FIFA due to delays notably with airports and urban transport with the world body’s general secretary Jerome Valcke once memorably saying the country needed “a kick in the backside”.
BRAZIL 2014 POSTERS: FORTALEZA. The Castelao Arena — filled with images of Fortaleza’s major landmarks — and its beaches — the region is a major tourist destination — are the main features of the Fortaleza poster.
Russia 2018 to start and finish at Luzhniki Stadium
On 14 December 2012, at their latest meeting in Tokyo, the FIFA Executive Committee approved the Hosting Concept for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, with both the Opening Match and Final set to be played at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The legendary arena will thus join an elite list of stadiums that have hosted both matches at world football’s greatest competition.
Since Luzhniki Stadium was first opened in 1956, it has hosted a number of international sports events, including the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1980 Olympic Games, the 2008 UEFA Champions League final and the world championships of a variety of sports. The arena will be closed for major renovation work in August 2013, before re-opening five years later to reveal its new image to visitors to Russia 2018.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Hosting Concept approved by the FIFA Executive Committee stipulates that Luzhniki will also host one of the tournament’s semi-finals, while the other will be played in St Petersburg.
The future stadium in St Petersburg, which is under construction on Krestovsky Island, will also host matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 – according to the FIFA Executive Committee’s decision. The three other venues set to host matches at Russia 2017 are Spartak Moskva’s arena and stadiums in Kazan and Sochi.
“The approval of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 Hosting Concept is an important decision that gives the competitions real shape. We anticipate a big and exciting job organizing a FIFA World Cup that will start a new page in the history of Russian and world football,” said Aleksey Sorokin, CEO of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee, after the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Tokyo.
The mascot of the 2014 World Cup is a yet to-be-named Brazilian endangered armadillo.
Brazilians will choose the mascot’s name from three choices — Amijubi, Fuleco and Zuzeco.
The three-banded armadillo, commonly found in northeastern Brazil, rolls up into the shape of a ball when threatened.
“The fact that the three-banded armadillo is a vulnerable species is very fitting,” FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in a statement. “One of the key objectives through the 2014 FIFA World Cup is to use the event as a platform to communicate the importance of the environment and ecology.”
TRIVIA TIME. Here are the names of past mascots:
1966-England (Willie the lion)
1974-West Germany (Tip and Tap)
1982-Spain (Naranjito the orange)
1986-Mexico (Pique the chili pepper)
1994-USA (Striker the dog)
1998-France (Footix the rooster)
2002-Japan/South Korea (Ato, Kaz and Nik)
2006-Germany (Goleo VI the lion)
2010-South Africa (Zakumi the leopard)
The FIFA World Cup is an international association football competition contested by the senior men’s national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month; this phase is often called the World Cup Finals. A qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation(s).
The 19 World Cup tournaments have been won by eight different national teams. Brazil have won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Italy, with four titles; Germany, with three titles; Argentina and inaugural winners Uruguay, with two titles each; and England, France, and Spain, with one title each.
The World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event; an estimated 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany.
The next three World Cups will be hosted by Brazil in 2014, Russia in 2018, and Qatar in 2022.
|1930 Fifa World Cup
The 1930 FIFA World Cup was the inaugural world championship for international association football teams – the FIFA World Cup. It was played in Uruguay from 13 July to 30 July.
|1934 Fifa World Cup
The 1934 FIFA World Cup, or the World’s Cup as it was known then, was the second football World Cup, and was hosted by Italy from 27 May to 10 June. Italy was chosen as host by FIFA at the Stockholm congress of October 1932.
|1938 Fifa World Cup
The 1938 FIFA World Cup was the third staging of the World Cup, and was held in France from 4 June to 19 June. France was chosen as hosts by FIFA in August 1936. Italy retained the championship, beating Hungary 4–2 in the final.
|1950 Fifa World Cup (12 Year gap was due to the War)
The 1950 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil from 24 June to 16 July, was the fourth FIFA World Cup, and the first staged in 12 years due to World War II. Brazil was chosen as the host country by FIFA in July 1946. It was also the first tournament where the trophy was referred to as the Jules Rimet Cup, to mark the 25th anniversary of Rimet’s presidency of FIFA.
|1954 Fifa World Cup
Winners: West Germany
The 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth staging of the World Cup, was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. As the year saw the 50th anniversary of FIFA, it was appropriate for football’s premier competition to be played in the home of its governing body, and Switzerland was chosen as hosts in July 1946.
|1958 Fifa World Cup
The 1958 FIFA World Cup, the sixth staging of the World Cup, was hosted by Sweden from 8 June to 29 June. Sweden was chosen as hosts by FIFA in June 1950. It was won by Brazil, who beat Sweden 5–2 in the final for their first title. As of 2010, this was the only time that a World Cup staged in Europe was not won by a European team.
|1962 Fifa World Cup
The 1962 FIFA World Cup, the seventh staging of the World Cup, was held in Chile from 30 May to 17 June. Chile was chosen as hostFIFA in June 1956, as the World Cup returned to the continent of South America after 12 years. It was won by Brazil, who retained the championship by beating Czechoslovakia 3–1 in the final.
|1966 Fifa World Cup
The 1966 FIFA World Cup, the eighth staging of the World Cup, was held in England from 11 July to 30 July. England was chosen as hosts by FIFA in August 1960 to celebrate the centenary of the standardisation of football in England. England won the final, beating West Germany 4–2, giving them their first (and only) World Cup win, and becoming the first host to win the tournament since Italy in 1934.
|1970 Fifa World Cup
The 1970 FIFA World Cup, the ninth staging of the World Cup, was held in Mexico, from 31 May to 21 June. Mexico was chosen as the host nation by FIFA in October 1964. The 1970 tournament was the first World Cup hosted in North America, and the first held outside South America and Europe. In a match-up of two-time World Cup champions, the final was won by Brazil, who beat Italy 4–1.
|1974 Fifa World Cup
Hosts: West Germany
Winners: West Germany
The 1974 FIFA World Cup, the tenth staging of the World Cup, was held in West Germany from 13 June to 7 July. West Germany had been chosen in July 1966 as hosts by FIFA. The tournament marked the first time that the current trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, was awarded.
|1978 Fifa World Cup
The 1978 FIFA World Cup, the 11th staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Argentina between 1 June and 25 June. Argentina was chosen as hosts by FIFA in July 1966. The 1978 World Cup was won by Argentina who beat the Netherlands 3–1 after extra time in the final.
|1982 Fifa World Cup
The 1982 FIFA World Cup, the 12th FIFA World Cup, was held in Spain from 13 June to 11 July, 1982. Spain was chosen as hosts by FIFA in July 1966. The tournament was won by Italy, after beating West Germany 3–1 in the final.
|1986 Fifa World Cup
The 1986 FIFA World Cup, the 13th FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico from 31 May to 29 June. It was won by Argentina (their second title after 1978), led by Diego Maradona who scored the infamous “Hand of God goal”, and also a goal voted as “Goal of the Century”, in the same quarter-final against England.
|1990 Fifa World Cup
Winners: West Germany
The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 8 June to 8 July 1990 in Italy, the second country to host the event twice. Teams representing 116 national football associations from all six populated continents entered the competition, with its qualification process beginning in April 1988.
|1994 Fifa World Cup
The 1994 FIFA World Cup, the 15th staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in the United States from June 17 to July 17 1994. The United States was chosen as hosts by FIFA on July 4, 1988. Brazil became the first nation to win four World Cup titles when they beat Italy 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended 0-0 after extra-time, the first World Cup final to be decided on penalties.
|1998 Fifa World Cup
The 1998 FIFA World Cup, the 16th FIFA World Cup, was held in France from 10 June to 12 July 1998. France was chosen as host nation by FIFA on 1 July 1992. The tournament was won by France, who beat Brazil 3-0 in the final. France won their first title, becoming the seventh nation to win a World Cup.
|2002 Fifa World Cup
Hosts: Korea & Japan
The 2002 FIFA World Cup was the 17th staging of the FIFA World Cup, held in South Korea and Japan from 31 May to 30 June. The two countries were chosen as hosts by FIFA in May 1996; it was the first tournament in World Cup history to be hosted by two countries.
|2006 Fifa World Cup
The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the 18th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 9 June to 9 July 2006 in Germany, which won the right to host the event in July 2000.
|2010 Fifa World Cup
Hosts: South Africa
Winners: Final not yet played
The 2010 FIFA World Cup is the 19th FIFA World Cup, the premier international association football tournament, was held in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010. It was the first cup hosted on African soil, and the cup was won by Spain.
|2014 Fifa World Cup
Winners: Final not yet played
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the 20th World Cup, an international football tournament that is expected to take place between June and July 2014 in Brazil. This will be the second time the country has hosted the competition, the first being the 1950 FIFA World Cup.