With Cup a month away, a lot to be done in Brazil

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm •  Published: May 13, 2014
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SAO PAULO (AP) — It's all coming down to the final 30 days.

Brazil had seven years to get ready for the World Cup, but it enters the final month of preparations with a lot yet to be done.

There are three stadiums still under construction, some of the temporary structures needed for matches are delayed, and it remains unclear if all cities will have time to organize the fanfests required by FIFA.

It's already known that not all infrastructure work will be completed no matter how much organizers rush ahead of the June 12 opener. The government admits communications inside stadiums won't be perfect, unfinished airports remain a concern and there are widespread threats of violent protests by Brazilians complaining about the billions of dollars spent to organize the tournament.

Brazilian officials guarantee everything will be fine. FIFA remains concerned.

"Everything will be in place for the World Cup in Brazil to be a success," Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Tuesday. "The stadiums will be ready, the airports will be ready, we are guaranteeing public safety."

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke says there's no time to waste in the World Cup project.

"I would not say it's not ready, but it's not finished," he said recently.

"You feel that the competition is coming, so there is an excitement," Valcke told FIFA.com. "In the meantime, it's important to test everything and making sure it's working. The pressure is there to make sure we will be perfectly ready."

The local governments have the responsibility of making sure everything is working to receive the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected for the monthlong tournament, from transportation to public services to security.

"All arrangements are being made to guarantee a successful tournament," affirms Brazil's sports ministry, which is in charge of getting the country ready for the World Cup. "The meetings to finalize the operational plans in the varied areas involved in the event's preparations will be concluded this week in all 12 host cities."

The government's own watchdog group warned Tuesday, however, that it's concerned about some of the delays, including some affecting urban mobility and security projects. Some of the work still isn't in place to provide "adequate security to those attending the World Cup," said Joao Augusto Nardes, president of the watchdog group. He spoke to Brazil's official news service Agencia Brasil.

FIFA is worried mostly about the stadiums where the 64 matches will be played. Football's governing body wanted all venues completed by the end of last year, but Brazil was not able to get half of them ready in time. Many will not host all the test events that were planned for the tournament.

Among the three stadiums under construction is the Itaquerao, where the high-profile opener between Brazil and Croatia will be played. There will be some 14,000 guests among the nearly 70,000 people in attendance, including many heads of state.

Some of the 20,000 temporary seats needed for the opener are still being installed, and the only official test event planned for the Itaquerao will take place on Sunday, about three weeks before the opener. It won't even happen in front of a full crowd, as only 40,000 fans will be allowed into the venue.