Valcke Sees "Crucial Moment" for 2013 Confederations Cup

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Jerome Valcke shakes hands with a construction worker during an Oct. 17 visit to Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Getty Images)
(WFI) Secretary general Jerome Valcke says FIFA is facing “a crucial moment” in preparations for the 2013 Confederations Cup.

Officials from world football’s governing body join the organizing committee in Sao Paulo on Thursday to confirm Brazil’s host venues for the so-called “Festival of Champions”. An update on ticketing will also be presented at the media briefing, which will be streamed live on FIFA.com.

“This is a crucial moment for us organizers because once the ticket sales start it would be very problematic if a venue runs into challenges to be ready to host matches,” Valcke writes in his latest column on FIFA.com, stressing the need for venues to be ready six months ahead of kickoff.

“I know this sounds like a long time but in reality it’s not,” continues the Frenchman. 

“From electrics to crowd management, from stewards to public transport and parking management all processes must be well established to ensure that come the FIFA Confederations Cup next June – when Brazil will be in the spotlight of the world – we will not face any major operational obstacles. We must ensure that fans have an unforgettable experience without any logistical nightmares.”

Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador are the six cities so far scheduled to stage the tournament Valcke calls “an acid test” for both FIFA and Brazil.

Draws with four or five hosts are, however, in the works should any cities not survive Thursday’s cut. Of the six, Recife is most at risk of being axed, despite recent assurances from the state government that work is accelerating on Arena Pernambuco.

Following this week’s announcement, a draw ceremony will follow Dec. 1 with public ticket sales to launch Dec. 3 via FIFA.com.

“I am sure it will further increase the anticipation among football fans around the world to come to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” says Valcke, who is currently recovering from a kidney infection and will not travel to Brazil on Thursday.

Representing FIFA at the Museo do Futebol will be director of marketing Thierry Weil and communications chief Walter De Gregorio.

José Maria Marin, head of the tournament organizers, will join LOC board member Ronaldo, sports minister Aldo Rebelo and Luis Fernandes, executive secretary of the sports ministry, for the briefing.

By INSIDER's Matthew Grayson

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