In 33 days a half million people are expected to descend upon Brazil for the World Cup, but FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke says the preparations are “not finished.”
Of the 12 host cities where matches will be held, the only one that appears to be ready is Rio de Janeiro.
"I would not say it's not ready, but it's not finished," Valcke said of the preparations during a Friday briefing.
Valcke says an estimated 500,000 fans will have a hard time getting around, unable to drive from venue to venue and many of the hotels that planned to open ahead of the games never got built.
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“I know it’s difficult to speak without creating a number of problems…but my message to the fans would be just make sure you are organized when you go to Brazil,” Valcke said.
“You cannot sleep on the beach, firstly because it’s winter,” he warned. “Make sure you organize your accommodation, you cannot just arrive with a backpack and start walking, there are no trains, you cannot drive [from one venue to another].”
“Don’t just turn up thinking it is in Germany, that it’s easy to move around the country," he added. "In Germany, you could sleep in your car, you can’t do that [in Brazil].”
Even forking out money to fly from venue to venue isn’t a solution, according to the Los Angeles Times:
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“Since there are no highways to [Manaus], those who aren’t willing to spend days traveling up the Amazon by boat will rely on Brazil’s overstretched air transportation system, taking a four-hour flight that costs about $400 from Rio de Janeiro. One recent trip by air from Manaus to the coastal city of Natal, another World Cup city, required three stops and took more than 10 hours.”
As for coverage of the games on TV, the media center, which was supposed to be constructed in the Curitiba stadium, is also unfinished.
“The six-story metal skeleton jutting out from the World Cup soccer stadium [in Curitiba, a city with a population of about 1.7 million in the state of Parana] was to be the international media center. But when the games start next month, the world’s journalists will be housed in tents in the parking lot beside it,” wrote the Washington Post.
Furthermore, Valcke said FIFA was aware that lack of infrastructure in Brazil would make holding the games there problematic.
“How do you say [in advance] it is not going to work?” Valcke asked.