2014 World Cup is 'under control' - organizers
The World Cup which Brazil will host in 2014 is "under control", the head of the country's organizing panel said Wednesday, voicing optimism about progress in lagging infrastructure projects.
"I am very optimistic, everything is under control and I am sure that we will organize a fantastic World Cup," Ricardo Trade, the executive director of the Cup's local organizing committee, said in an interview with AFP.
"We are monitoring the (infrastructure) works 24 hours a day and I can assure you that the stadiums will be ready on time," he added at the committee's headquarters in Rio.
Since Brazil was picked as host of the World Cup in 2006, its relations with the Football's world governing body FIFA have been at times rocky.
The South American giant plans to spend $13.7 billions to build or modernize stadiums, airports, road and public transport for the mega-event.
But FIFA has for months complained about delays in renovation or construction of stadiums as well as infrastructure projects for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950.
In addition, costs for temporary installations such as space for fans, the media and guests were not factored in, which will drive up overall costs.
According to an official document released in May, 40 percent of the infrastructure projects have not yet begun.
"Currently, we have other priorities. We continue to monitor work on the stadiums, but the issue is no longer whether or not they will be completed as scheduled.
"We are already looking into the operational phase, how transit around the stadiums will be organized, where the officials and the media will be housed," Trade said.
Local press reports said authorities have now decided to shelve some projects which will not be ready by 2014, including a tramway in Brasilia.
FIFA recently scaled down its expectations and conceded that there was no need for "an entirely new country for the World Cup".
Since May, the Brazilian federal government has stepped in, by appointing representatives on the executive committee, "which further tightens a long-standing relationship," Trade said.
"The government is now closer to us, which is fundamental to finance most the works. This has improved our day-to-day relationship," he added.
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