Countdown to Brazil as Confederations Cup gets underway
Published: 02.07.13 / Written by: David Gold
With the Confederations Cup well and truly underway, the countdown to next yearís World Cup is drawing ever closer.
But as the competition draws nearer, Brazil is facing pressure both from outside and within. The Confederations Cup has so far been marred by protests from ordinary Brazilians protesting about huge government waste and the cost of staging the tournament, rather than investing in education and health.
So how ready is Brazil? As the protestors may point out, this is a country that has been said is first world in price but third world in quality. There are still major problems facing Brazil as they look ahead to next year. The Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro very nearly did not stage a game in the Confederations Cup, and days before England were due to play the first game at the new stadium a judge ruled that the ground be closed. That shows just how chaotic things are in Brazil.
The game got underway but there have been numerous other problems along the way. One of the stadiums in use at the Confederations Cup, and therefore in theory one of the most advanced in terms of progress, saw part of the roof collapse last month in heavy rain. That arena in Salvador hosts a number of games during this competition.
Strikes, delays and prevaricating has dogged the organisers throughout. Construction of the Itaquera stadium in Sao Paolo, meant to be the host of the first game of the World Cup, only began two years ago. The problems are ongoing. But the biggest one is in air transport.
Many of the cities lack adequate air capacity and concerns are ongoing that they will struggle to provide enough transport during the World Cup. Claims during the Confederations Cup are that the air network is coping, but this is with far fewer fans than will be there when 32 teams, rather than 8, descend in a yearís time .And many of the airports arenít being used or analysed during this competition.
Traffic jams can stretch for over 100 miles in major cities, and therefore air transport is vital, particularly in a country so large. And of course Brazil, because of politics, is not clustering venues so that teams only play in stadiums that are near each other. Some sides could rack up thousands of air miles as the criss cross Brazil next year, a country so large it could be a continent of its own. Indeed it takes up most of South America.
So with just a year left to go there is much left to do for Brazilís World Cup organisers. Stadiums are nearing completion and will probably be ready, but there are major infrastructural challenges ahead and it is unlikely they will meet those completely. Air transport is likely to dog the tournament, and transport in general will be a major issue. Teams playing in the south and then the north of the huge country within days are likely to suffer and the quality of the competition as a whole may be affected, with fans struggling to get to grips with this chaotic, politically and football charged country. At least the football should be great.