VM i Brasilien i 2014
Lørdag d. 22. oktober 2011
By Keir Radnedge, Chairman AIPS Football Commission
ZURICH, October 21, 2011 - Staging a World Cup is not so much a pursuit of perfection as of practicality. Hence the politically-essential upbeat tone in Zurich at the unveiling of the match schedule replacing, briefly, the whispers and frowns in the political shadows.
Brazil 2014 was never going to be easy. This is a vast land – as FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke once said: “Not so much a country, rather a continent” – and the complications have been exacerbated by complacency and delays in infrastructural and legal preparation.
The need to ensure the airports are became even more of a central factor after FIFA and the Brazilian organisers abandoned the original plan of venue ‘clusters’ for the sake of the players, officials, travelling fans.
How the quality of football will benefit from a team playing one match in the cold then flying more than 2,000m to play another in sub-tropical conditions has not been explained. But then, as the 2010 finals in South Africa, the quality of football appears to be the least important element of a World Cup nowadays.
Of far more consequence is construction of a match schedule which satisfies all the host venue egoes which means an engorged 12 in Brazil compared with nine in South Africa.
As Valcke said: “It’s been a big task and a long work. We had 57 versions of this match schedule and finally nine on which we have been working. We took into account the medical aspect, logistics, travel and accommodation. Also, the host cities can have all the teams. They will travel around the country with seeded teams going to all the cities.”
The U-turn would also appear to fly in the face of the world federation’s oft-stated concerns for sustainability and environmental concern but FIFA has promised this writer it will explain the apparent contradiction in terms in due course.
Fair’s fair. The schedule does show one significant improvement which should be welcomed: FIFA has instituted a rest day between the end of the group phase and the start of the knockout section – the unofficial ‘World Cup proper.’
Again, this writer has been calling for a break which makes both psychological and physical sense for longer than should surely have been necessary.
But this was a mere sideshow, for the world’s media, compared with over-the-top expectations of the outcome of the simultaneous executive committee meeting at which FIFA president Sepp Blatter was to reveal his proposals for reform.
These were not expected to please Brazilian football boss Ricardo Teixeira.
At the start of this week the Brazilian fraud squad launched an investigation into allegations of money-laundering by Teixeira and his brother over illicit payments a decade ago from the former FIFA marketing partner ISL.
Then on Wednesday night, in a further twist, Deputies decided to launch a three-way investigation into the Brazilian football confederation (CBF), the local 2014 World Cup organising authority (COL) and Teixeira himself.
Of course Teixeira, apart from being a member of FIFA’s much-derided executive committee, is also president of both the CBF and COL.
As for ‘his’ World Cup, hosts Brazil will play in the Opening Match in Sao Paulo’s under-construction Itaquera Arena and their other two group games in Fortaleza and Brasilia. The semi-finals will be in Belo Horizonte and Sao Paulo, the third-place match in Brasilia and the final in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana.
Other venues are Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife and Salvador with group match kickoff times set at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm local [5pm, 9pm and 11pm BST / 6pm, 10pm and midnight CET).
The schedule for the warm-up Confederations Cup in 2013 remains wide-open because of uncertainty over which stadia may be ready by then. The only certainties are that the opening game with be in Brasilia, the semi-finals in Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza and the final in the Maracana