FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke made a brutally honest assessment of Brazil’s World Cup preparations 70 days before the tournament is scheduled to begin.
“If you want me to summarize … we are not ready,” he told the Associated Press at a conference in South Africa on Wednesday.
Valcke’s comments come as two stadiums — the Itaquerão in São Paulo and the Estadio Beira Rio in Porto Alegre — remain unfinished.
Work at the Itaquerão has been delayed because of three construction deaths, the latest of which came last weekend. The 68,000-seat stadium is supposed to host the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.
It was scheduled to be finished in mid-April, but FIFA admits there’s no way it will open before May 15.
Here’s what the stadium looked like on April 1, 71 days before the World Cup:
Construction work in Porto Alegre will also come down to the wire.
Last week the mayor threatened to “drop out” of hosting World Cup games if legislation wasn’t passed to free up the money necessary to build temporary structures for media, sponsors, and fans around the stadium.
The Beira Rio, which looks further along in its construction than the Itaquerão, is scheduled to host the June 15 game between France and Honduras.
Valcke ensured the BBC that the stadiums will be finished, but couldn’t say the same for the rest of the infrastructure:
“Maybe there will be things which will not be totally ready at the beginning of the World Cup, but the most important thing for the 32 teams is the training camp and fields.”
As we saw in Sochi, it’s not enough to simply finish all the big stuff.
All of the Olympic venues were completely finished by the opening ceremony, but there was still the widespread impression that Sochi was unprepared for the World Cup because they didn’t finish things like hotels and roads.
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