The Atlantic is the latest publication to publish a “Will Brazil be ready?” story. The piece, written by Chris Feliciano Arnold, focuses on the centerpiece of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, the Maracanã.
The famous stadium is in the middle of a massive refurbishment that will bring it up to FIFA’s exacting standards of style, safety, and seats for chubby people. It’s not exactly going so well.
“We’re not worried, we’re just a bit anxious,” FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said after a visit on March 7. “All we are concerned about is doing a good job. We don’t have a Plan B.”
A 5,500-person crew(!) is working night and day to get the place ready for the Confederations Cup, which begins in less than 100 days. The smaller tournament will give Brazilian officials an opportunity to work out all the kinks in the system, supposedly.
Now, about those delays: It’s always fun to place blame on the ones doing the work, but part of the issue isn’t their fault. To the e-pages of the Atlantic:
And look, we’ve been over this before. Big events like the World Cup are always behind schedule. They always have issues with the labor unions, so when the Heavy Construction Workers Union strikes and demands more money, it’s not a surprise.
But this does seem like we are getting down to it, no? A few weeks ago, work was hampered by flooding. Flooding! And while I don’t really believe FIFA absolutely needs the Maracanã to be done by May 28th and I don’t believe Mr. Valcke that there is no Plan B, it is a little concerning to keep reading stories like this that seem to be getting worse rather than better. I’m sure it will all come together okay in the end, but it’s not going to be pretty.