JOHANNESBURG - Time is running out for
Sao Paulo if South America's largest city wants to host matches
at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, local organising committee
president Ricardo Teixeira said on Thursday.
The Brazilians are also considering dividing the huge
country into four regions, in which teams would be confined
during the earlier rounds, to cut down on travelling.
Sao Paulo's plans were thrown into confusion last month when
the committee and world governing body FIFA dropped the proposed
venue, the Morumbi stadium, because the city had failed to
provide financial guarantees for the renovation of the arena.
"If Sao Paulo wants to host the opening game or the
competition as a whole, the deadline is getting close," Teixeira
"Cape Town built its stadium in two-and-a-half years, so we
are dangerously close to the limit."
Teixeira said he had a brief conversation with Sao Paulo
mayor Gilberto Kassab last week but needed to meet state
governor Alberto Goldman when he returns to Brazil before giving
more concrete information.
"Nothing has been determined, it was a generic conversation
because he (Kassab) is on holiday at the moment," said Teixeira.
"When I return to Brazil and he comes back from holiday, we
will have a meeting with the governor of Sao Paulo."
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said in a separate
meeting that Brazil may be divided into four regions, rather
than having teams travel around the entire country.
"Brazil is a continent not just a country, so we may divide
it into four pieces, to make sure that fans do not have to
travel (fly) more than one or two hours from one stadium to the
Teixeira, also president of the Brazilian Football
Confederation (CBF), avoided directly commenting on a question
about remarks by Valcke, who said in May that Brazil had fallen
behind in its preparations.
"Next month, we will have the reports of the financial
analysis of the stadium projects and we will see whether there
is a problem or not," he said.
However, he admitted there were worries over the financing
of the stadium in Curitiba.
Teixeira said the biggest problem facing Brazil was its
ageing and often small airports, although he could not give any
information on possible improvements.
"Airports are the responsibility of a government department
called Infraero," he said.
He dismissed fears over Brazil's soaring crime rate, saying
that violence happened everywhere.
"This problem exists all over the world. I see violence
wherever I go, in Europe, in the United States, and in Brazil
it's not different," he said.
Brazil was elected unopposed in 2007 to host the tournament
which was earmarked for South America by FIFA under a
short-lived rotation system. The same policy also brought the
current World Cup to South Africa.
Brazil faces a huge job to improve its creaking stadiums and
transport system while soaring urban crime is a major worry.
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