FIFA to demand that Brazil speed up pace of 2014 World Cup preparations

A redeveloped Maracana will host the World Cup Final in 2014 - as it did in 1950 / lake images
A redeveloped Maracana will host the World Cup Final in 2014 - as it did in 1950 / lake images
KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications
LONDON/ZURICH, Dec 18: FIFA, having resolved for the time being the issues over the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, is turning its urgent attention to the snail’s pace of preparations in Brazil for the finals of 2014.
President Sepp Blatter and secretary-general Jerome Valcke had accepted that nothing would progress until after the elections which will see President Lula hand over on January 1 to Dilma Rousseff.
Reports in Brazil say that Blatter is comparing the situation in Brazil with that in South Africa less than four years from the Opening Match, particularly where infrastricture projects such as airports and hotels are concerned. Independent studies have also suggested that stadia redevelopment has fallen behind the pace set by the South Africans at a comparative time.
Blatter said: “Perhaps we have to remind Brazil that the World Cup is in three and a half years. As far as the stadia are concerned they are doing a good job but I am not so certain the same can be said about the general infrastucture.
“The issues are the same as in South Africa at this stage. What will happen if the stadia are not ready? Or the hotels? Do we have a Plan B in one pocket and a Plan C in another? Well, Plan B is Brazil – and Plan C is also Brazil. We’re sure the Brazilians will do what has to be done. We cannot believe anything different – after all, this is a country of 220m people with a strong economy. I am confident they will do it. Certainly, with a little encourgament here and there.”
Hints that FIFA might push back the dates to provide players with more preparation time have been discounted. Valcke has said that the finals will run from either June 6 to July 6 or June 13 to July 13.