Brazil 2014 – at least the T-shirts are ready
Brazil, clear favourites to host the 2014 World Cup, have finally started work on getting ready for the big event.
After plenty of talk but no action, the country badly needed a gesture to show the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) is taking the bid seriously — the laying of a first sleeper in a new high-speed railway, perhaps, or driving the first stake into a brand new stadium.
So it was amid great expectation that the CBF unveiled this week… a T-shirt. Or rather lots of T-shirts reading “2014 bid nation” (the CBF’s imagination clearly having run riot).
Coach Dunga wore one on the touchline during Tuesday’s friendly against Ghana in Stockholm, the team wore them as they took to the field and CBF chief Ricardo Teixeira has been handing them around to all and sundry.
It will need a lot more serious work if the World Cup really is going to come here. The CBF openly admits the country does not have a single stadium which can at present host World Cup games.
More worryingly, how are the fans going to get around? The country has almost no passenger-carrying railways, most highways are in a shambolic state and air travel, fraught with delays due to outdated equipment and overworked controllers, cannot cope with local demand.
South America is due to stage the 2014 World Cup under FIFA’s rotation system and the CBF believes it can easily see off Colombia, the only country to join the race.
But not all Brazilians share that optimism. In an Internet poll carried out by the Estado do Sao Paulo newspaper this week, 73 percent said the country could not stage the event. If they are right, FIFA may have to carry out Sepp Blatter’s threat to go north.
Brian Homewood is a Reuters sports correspondent based in Rio de Janeiro