2014 Brazil World Cup: FIFA confident after host city visits

The visit by Jérôme Valcke, the secretary general of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), to the stadiums that will host World Cup games ended optimistically.

This week, he visited Cuiabá in the state of Mato Grosso, and Porto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul, completing this year’s cycle of visits to the 12 host cities.

“There is still some work to be done, which is normal,” Valcke said during an Oct. 10 press conference after a meeting with the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) in Rio de Janeiro. “The pitch in Brasília, for example, isn’t ideal. Work must be done to improve it. The players expect the best from us.”

Valcke arrived in Porto Alegre on Oct. 7, made a stopover in Cuiabá the following day and completed his trip to Brazil with a visit to Rio de Janeiro. The delegation included Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and former soccer players Bebeto and Ronaldo, who are members of the LOC Board of Directors.

Of the 12 World Cup stadiums, six, including the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre and the Pantanal Stadium in Cuiabá, are nearing completion. The other six already have been completed and hosted Confederations Cup games this past June.

FIFA’s deadline for the stadiums to be completed is December 2013.

Valcke said he has no doubt the projects will be completed on time. In Porto Alegre, he said one of the reasons for his trip was to “apply pressure” to show that FIFA is monitoring the project and not just “sitting around” at its headquarters in Zurich.