The international media expresses prejudice within developed nations against the capacity of developing countries like Brazil to host global sports events, the country’s deputy sports minister said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference in response to a question from HOST CITY about the severe delays in Brazil’s preparations to host mega events, Luis Fernandes said “In sectors of the public opinion of richer countries, there is prejudice directed against developing countries and their capacity to deliver major global sporting events such as the World Cup and the Olympic Games.
“I’ll give you an example: We had a sad tragedy in the preparation for the World Cup in a city in Southern Brazil where there was a fire in a nightclub and in which a number of youngsters were killed. And sectors of the press, both international and national, took up that specific case to question Brazil’s capacity of organizing the World Cup and Olympic Games.
“When similar accidents occurred in the UK, in France, in Russia, in China before hosting major global events, the same questioning or the same scepticism was not directed against those countries; so that is a prejudiced point of view from our perspective.”
HOST CITY asked if he thought that FIFA’s deadlines should be more lenient in certain countries where there may be a tendency for preparations to take longer.
“We are not happy with whatever delays exist," Fernandes said. "It would have been better to have all World Cup stadiums delivered already by December 2013 so that we could, in sequence, test all aspects of operations of those stadiums throughout the first semester.
“We had two stadiums that were delivered late and that had more acute problems of delays; those were the stadiums in São Paulo and Curitiba, so that put extra pressure on our organizational capacity because we had to make a number of tests in parallel that would have been held easier and in a more calm fashion if they could have been done in sequence.”
Fernandes drew parallels with the Confederations Cup, preparations for which also ran behind schedule. “The same type of doubts or scepticism or prejudice also manifested itself with respect to the Confederations Cup, saying that Brazil wasn’t prepared to hold that event—and the event was a huge success.
“We also had stadiums that unfortunately were delivered late, but the operation was a success. So we already showed the world that we can organize such a competition efficiently and with success, although maybe, personally, the operational cost of organizing such an event is greater due to certain delays.
“But our message is one of absolute confidence that we will have a spectacular World Cup here in Brazil starting two weeks on."