Monday, May 30, 2011

Media centre for 2014 World Cup in Brazil to be located in Rio de Janeiro

By The Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO — The International Broadcast Center for the 2014 World Cup will be located in Rio de Janeiro, FIFA said Friday.
Rio won the right over Sao Paulo, South America's largest city, and Brasilia, the nation's capital.
FIFA said Rio was chosen because of its "quality of infrastructure" and "variety of accommodation."
"I can tell you it was a very difficult decision," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said in a statement. "All candidates were of great quality and showed huge commitment. But unfortunately there can only be one selected host and we considered that the best overall for FIFA was Rio de Janeiro."
Rio is set to host the World Cup final at Maracana stadium, while Sao Paulo and Brasilia are two of the cities vying for the opening match three years from now.
The media centre will be located at the Riocentro complex, which accommodated the press centre and some competitions during the 2007 Pan American Games.
"This IBC will be one of the most advanced information centres in the world for the months of June and July 2014," Valcke said. "It is a vital component, linking the FIFA World Cup to the rest of the world and ensuring that people across the globe have the latest and best coverage of our beautiful game."
FIFA said 179 broadcasters from more than 70 countries had onsite productions with 13,000 staff members during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Brazil will be hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1950.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pitch guidelines passed on to Host Cities


The two-day Seminar for Pitch Preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, held in Fortaleza (Ceara state), came to a conclusion yesterday. The event brought together pitch specialists from the 12 Host Cities, with key guidelines being put in place for all the stadiums hosting matches at Brazil 2014.
The event began on Thursday, with the Governor of Ceara state, Cid Gomes, in attendance along with FIFA representatives and members of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Local Organising Committee (LOC).
FIFA organised the gathering with a view to establishing quality and durability standards applicable to all the pitches to be used at Brazil 2014. In the opinion of world football’s governing body, it is essential that all pitches are managed, maintained and cut according to the same guidelines.
A decision has yet to be made on the types of grass to be used at the tournament. This will be taken once FIFA has carried out studies across the country, which has four different types of climate in the months of June and July, each with different rainfall patterns. Pitch construction is thus a key factor when it comes to standardising guidelines, as drainage and irrigation systems will vary from venue to venue. The grass types selected will need to offer durability as well as the ability to regenerate quickly and adapt to each specific climate.
The Host Cities will receive guidelines on the construction of pitches and the equipment needed to maintain them before and after Brazil 2014. Speakers at the seminar pointed to the need for special pitch care at venues with a cold climate, as tropical grass species have greater difficulty in establishing themselves at low temperatures. Pitch specialists will assess the projects presented by the 12 Host Cities in close detail and will provide their assistance in implementing them.
As the LOC’s Executive Operations Director, Ricardo Trade, explained, the Host Cities have a major responsibility in ensuring they get pitch preparation right.
“As a country famed for its football, the onus and the moral obligation is upon us to stage a superb FIFA World Cup finals, with each venue offering the same level of quality,” he said. “This is our opportunity to show the world just how good we are even when we don’t have the ball at our feet.”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

LOC puts on pitch preparation seminar in Fortaleza


On Thursday 19 and Friday 20 May, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the next FIFA World Cup™ will put on a Seminar for Pitch Preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil in the La Maison Events Centre in Fortaleza (Ceira state). The aim of the gathering is to communicate guidelines on the type of pitch to be used during the competition and to standardise playing surfaces across the tournament’s 12 Host Cities.
The event will get underway at 8.30am on Thursday. Attending the seminar will be pitch consultants from FIFA and the LOC, as well as directors from both organisations and representatives from the 12 Host Cities. Each and every one of the pitch projects proposed for Brazil 2014 will also be individually analysed at the event.
Information will also be provided on the types on drainage system to be used, the selection and testing of materials used in the drainage process, irrigation requirements and supply, water replacement, varieties of turf, turf planting, employee training and the positive legacy to be left after the competition.
“This is one of the legacies this World Cup will leave for football. By standardizing pitches at the highest level across Brazil, it will improve the quality of play and work in the favour of the most talented players,” explained LOC President Ricardo Teixeira.
In the view of agronomist Maristela Kuhn from the company Arena, who supply technical support services for stadiums and pitches to the LOC, this seminar will be key to ensuring the Host Cities fully understand the procedures to be followed when laying international-standard pitches.
“This seminar will be important in order for us to show each one of the Host Cities what will be required in technological terms when it comes to laying the pitches, depending on the climate in each area,” said Kuhn. “FIFA’s technical requirements will also be outlined, since we’re seeking to have excellent quality surfaces.”
This is the first official FIFA World Cup event to be held in Fortaleza. The LOC intends to spread out seminars and get-togethers across the 12 Host Cities, so that all of them have the chance to get into the FIFA World Cup spirit. Other cities that have already welcomed seminars this calendar year are Brasilia and Belo Horizonte.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2014 World Cup qualifiers begin in November


Zimbabwe’s long road to the 2014 Fifa World Cup football finals to be staged in Brazil will start on November 11 this year following the adoption of a new format based on rankings by the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

Zimbabwe slid to their second worst ranking — 129 — in world football following their 1-0 defeat away to Mali in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in March. They are ranked 36th in Africa.

The April world rankings placed Zimbabwe 129th, just two places from their worst ever ranking of 131, which was attained in October 2009.

The latest ranking means Zimbabwe have gone down 11 places since January when they were ranked in 118th position.

Zimbabwe’s World Cup campaign starts immediately after the Warriors finish their current engagement in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with an away match to the Cape Verde Islands in October.

The new format, announced by Caf Monday will see five teams from Africa compete and Zimbabwe is part of the 24 nations that are ranked lowest on the continent.

The Caf Executive Committee, chaired by its president Issa Hayatou ratified the changes at a meeting on Monday and the qualifiers will start almost three years before the finals in Brazil.

The 24 lowest-ranked sides on the African continent who enter the first stage of qualification are Central African Republic, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Burundi, Swaziland, Liberia, Lesotho, Mauritania, Eritrea, Somalia, Comoros, Mauritius, Djibouti and Seychelles.

The sides will be drawn in a two-legged tie that will be played on November 11 and November 15 this year, with 12 teams qualifying from the matches to join the remaining 28 teams in the draw. 

The 40 sides will then be drawn into 10 groups of four and they will play on a home-and-away basis in a round-robin format that will run from June 2012 to September 2013.

Only the 10 group winners will advance to the next stage and they will then be drawn in a two-legged tie that will determine Africa’s five representatives for the 2014 World Cup.

Those ties will be played in October and November 2013, meaning the qualification process in its entirety is two years long, making a total of 154 matches.

Zimbabwe are under Norman Mapeza in the Afcon campaign and it is highly unlikely that cash-strapped Zifa will make changes to the technical team for the more challenging World Cup qualifiers.

Already, Zifa are saddled with debts inherited from the Wellington Nyatanga regime and face a $450 000 compensation riddle for Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet, who has filed his claim with world football-governing body Fifa.

The Warriors have two points from three matches in the Afcon race, having drawn 1-1 and 0-0 against Liberia and Cape Verde Islands before the 1-0 loss to Mali in Bamako in March.

They face Mali on June 5 at home, Liberia in September, also at home and Cape Verde away in October before they kick-start the World Cup campaign the following month.

2014 Fifa World Cup qualification process
Stage 1

First Round for 24 bottom Fifa-ranked teams

11/11/11 1st Leg
15/11/11 2nd Leg

Stage 2
Group phase – 10 groups of 4 teams (12 teams from Stage 1 + 28 teams)
01-05/06/12 Match Day 1
08-12/06/12 Match Day 2
22-26/03/13 Match Day 3
07-11/06/13Match Day 4
14-18/06/13Match Day 5
06-10/09/13 Match Day 6
Stage 3

Play-off phase – 5 matches home and away: 10 teams
11-15/10/13 1st Leg
15-19/11/13 2nd Leg

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FIFA Task Force Football 2014 starts work with first proposals


The FIFA Task Force Football 2014 convened for the first time today (10 May 2011) at the Home of FIFA, with former Zambian international striker Kalusha Bwalya heading the inaugural session as acting chairman. The high-profile panel of experts from across the world of football started its work by making some concrete initial proposals. In his opening remarks, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter stressed that the time had come to re-introduce such a task force for the first time since the 1990 FIFA World Cup™ in order to review the game and discuss what the future of football could hold. The objective for this task force is to formulate and present concrete solutions at the 2012 FIFA Congress.

“Unfortunately, Franz Beckenbauer was not able to attend today for health reasons,” said President Blatter, “but we prepared this task force meeting thoroughly together. I wish him a quick recovery. I am very proud of the commitment shown by all the members of this group. I am convinced that with this line-up we will endeavour to maintain and even raise the attractiveness of the game, in particular to meet the changing demands of fans, whilst continuing to protect its integrity and core values.”

Chairman Franz Beckenbauer sent a message to his colleagues, saying: “I very much regret that I am not able to attend today’s meeting. The FIFA Task Force Football 2014 is a hugely important project and the establishment of this working group, tasked with setting the course for the future of football, is an excellent idea put forward by the FIFA President.”

"I am convinced that with this line-up we will endeavour to maintain and even raise the attractiveness of the game, in particular to meet the changing demands of fans, whilst continuing to protect its integrity and core values." Sepp Blatter, FIFA President

“Working on this project means a great deal to me personally and I was very much looking forward to today’s meeting, and in particular to seeing my colleagues and experts from the world of football again. Over the last few weeks, we prepared everything in detail and it is now time to address a number of important matters. I am sure that my colleagues will represent me admirably today and that we will be able to lay the foundations together for our future work.”

The first concrete proposals of the FIFA Task Force Football 2014 are as follows:

· The members agreed to propose allowing a fourth substitution in extra time, particularly for youth competitions.

· Discussion of the interpretation of “Law 11 – Offside” when it comes to interfering with an opponent, especially when it is not physical interference.

· Triple punishment: the members agreed that only in case of serious fouls as well as when denying the opposing team a goalscoring opportunity should a triple punishment be imposed with a penalty, a red card and a suspension. The group proposed reducing sanctions for simple fouls and holding a player in the penalty area to a penalty and a yellow card only. The proposal will be re-submitted to IFAB.

· Refereeing: there was general agreement on the need to professionalise refereeing. Massimo Busacca reported on his experience as a FIFA referee as a basis for discussion on the group’s task to come up with concrete solutions in order to further enhance the level of refereeing and to look into opportunities for how to better support referees for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™.

· Competition regulations: a proposal for a uniform classification system in all intercontinental competitions, including the procedures to determine the winner of a match, was discussed and adjourned for consideration at the next meeting.

· Youth competitions: the task force proposed that for FIFA U-17 competitions and below in both the men’s and women’s game, there should be no extra time following a draw after 90 minutes, and instead the teams should proceed directly to a penalty shoot-out.

· Women’s football: the group was asked to come up with proposals to increase the number of female coaches and female referees.

Chairman Franz Beckenbauer will report on the proposals at the 61st Congress in Zurich on 1 June. For further information on the task force and quotes from the members, please visit

Sunday, May 8, 2011

New concern raised over whether Brazil's airports can cope with 2014 World Cup


LONDON/RIO DE JANEIRO, May 08: While Sports Minister Orlando Silva is making all the right positive noises about Brazil’s preparations to host the 2014 World Cup, support has come for concerns expressed earlier this year by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
A critical report in The Economist points up the lack of urgency in airport redevelopment, the fact that work has yet to start on the new stadium due to host the Opening Match in São Paulo and a forecast of cost over-runs on the rebuilding of Maracana in Rio de Janeiro – venue for the Final.
The size of Brazil means that airport efficiency is more important than at any previous World Cup. But The Economist says: “Most most of Brazil’s airports are already operating above their nominal capacity. Baggage handling and check-in are slow; delays and cancellations common . . . hectic growth in local demand would still leave most airports overcrowded — even without 1m football fans.”
This report quotes government sources refuting such negative forecasts but also notes Paulo Resende, an infrastructure specialist, as warning against unrealistic expectations. He says: “If we persist in saying that everything will be ready for the World Cup, no matter what, we risk making fools of ourselves.”
In the meantime, the Brazilian organising committee is in negotiations to appoint triple World Cup-winner Pele as a hosting ambassador.
This may illustrate the depth of concern behind the scenes. Pele has often been at odds with Ricardo Teixeira, who is president of both the Brazilian football confederation and the local World Cup organising committee.
Most notably, their row over domestic TV rights prompted Teixeira’s father-in-law, the then FIFA president Joao Havelange, to bar Pele from a role in the draw for the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

World Cup - Brazil 'nears turning point'

Brazil's much-criticised 2014 World Cup preparations will be accelerated towards the end of the year 
and improve the country's image, sports minister Orlando Silva has said

Work on most of the 12 stadiums has been hit by increases in costs with the worst case in Sao Paulo where construction of Corinthians' new ground, earmarked for the opening match, is still to start three years before the finals. 
"FIFA has been systematically following Brazil's preparations and knows the effort the country is making to comply with all the demands," Silva told the Radiobras programme 'Good morning minister'.
"I believe that as we move from 2011 into 2012 the perception of Brazil will change because work on the stadiums at that stage will be very different. I'm confident of that turning point."
However, Silva said on Monday it was unlikely the Corinthians stadium would be ready for the 2013 Confederations Cup, a rehearsal for the World Cup finals a year later, while the start of its construction is delayed by red tape.
Apart from Sao Paulo, work on the stadium in Natal in the north of the country is behind time, while the Maracana in Rio, likely to stage the final, required a huge increase in budget because of the need to replace the top tier because of structural problems.
Silva confirmed that President Dilma Rousseff's decision last month to turn over the improvement and running of airports to private firms had been well received by world governing body FIFA, which had criticised transportation in Brazil.
He said there would also be an investment of 700 million Brazilian reais ($420.2 million) in the ports of venue cities to receive passengers from Ocean cruise ships.
"It's an investment of 700 million focused on passenger terminals. With this investment we'll have adequate tourist terminals for the World Cup," he said.
Silva put at 47 billion reais the total of public and private investments in World Cup related projects from work on stadiums and airports to health, security, hotels and professional training.

Insurance company Liberty Seguros has been unveiled as the latest National Supporter of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.


Liberty Seguros will receive extensive marketing rights allowing the firm’s logo to be directly associated with the event as the ‘official insurance provider of the 2014 FIFA World Cup’. Nescau and Itau have already been announced as National Supporters of the tournament.
“It gives us great pleasure to welcome Liberty Seguros to our sponsorship family for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” said FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil. “The fact that so many Brazilian brands are showing such great interest in the event years before it is due to arrive in the country highlights what football and the FIFA World Cup means to the people of Brazil.”
Luis Maurette, Liberty Seguros’ CEO, added: “We are looking forward to playing our part in welcoming the FIFA World Cup back to Brazilian soil for the first time since 1950 and are sure that our involvement in the tournament will have a great impact on our business within Brazil. We firmly believe that this sponsorship will bring us closer to our consumers.”

More Airport Worries for Brazil 2014

Brazil will let private companies run the airport terminals needed for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, a reversal leaving some entrepreneurs wary about taking part.

The government will offer concessions to firms willing to build - and operate - five major passenger terminals demanded by the tournament, Reuters reports.

Still, the private sector remains hesitant of the red tape that comes hand-in-hand with its involvement.

"Time is short,” Paulo Godoy, head of private infrastructure association Abdib, told the news agency. “We need clear rules of the game fast.”

Around $3 billion is being spent to upgrade Brazil’s airports prior to the World Cup. FIFA has cited the slow pace of construction and upgrades on airports as its chief concern in recent months.

Up to one million visitors are expected for the month-long tournament. With venues in 12 cities spread across Brazil, the World Cup is more dependent on a robust airport infrastructure than the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Two airports serve the city of Rio de Janeiro, one for international travel and one for domestic flights.