HUNTING WHITE ELEPHANTS / CAÇANDO ELEFANTES BRANCOS

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26 April 2010

FIFA makes me sick

FIFA has asked that the State government of Rio de Janeiro change the architectural plans for the Maracanã project, asking to cancel this week's call for construction proposals to "modernize" the stadium. Why? The architectural plans for the lower seats are "not inclined enough". I had assumed that there had been an error of some kind in the drawings, or that the presence of the new luxury boxes would have changed the angles, or something more obvious, like the seat backs for the FIFA overlords weren't high enough, or wide enough, or didn't vibrate with a Swiss twizzler, French tickler option button. But it was worse than I imagined:


As reported by Lance! and passed on at copa2014.org.br:
"O problema principal é a mudança da altura das placas de publicidade instaladas ao lado dos gramados, de 90 cm para um metro, definida pela federação internacional de futebol. Com essa barreira visual mais alta, toda a visibilidade dos torcedores seria alterada e daí a necessidade de reestruturar os projetos de arquibancadas."


The principal problem is the change in height of the advertizing boards that line the field, from 90cm to one meter, as defined by FIFA. With the higher visual barrier, all of the sightlines of the spectators will be altered and as a result the entire structure of the stands will need to be changed. 


Let me get this straight. FIFA is demanding that at least 4 of the current stadium projects (Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Rio, Belo Horizonte), worth billions of public Reales, be delayed and their architecture refigured (increasing their already astronomical prices), so that their advertisers can have 30cm more height during the 64 games of the 2014 World Cup? Pelo amor de Deus gente! It's a crime! It's the most rediculous thing I have ever heard! The website that reported the news is sponsored by the national syndicate or architecture and engineering (SINAENCO), and not a sound of protest! Hey! FIFA! Vai tomar no c*!

Let me repeat: FIFA is demanding that at least 4 publicly funded World Cup stadiums change their architectural plans and delay the start of construction so that their "partners" can have ads that are 30cm higher. Hey! FIFA! Vai tomar no c*!

As I have catalogued here time and time again, the projects are already behind schedule, which will increase the cost of every stadium project. Since 2009, the total bill for the 12 stadium projects has increased by 20% and South Africa has just reported that their stadiums cost twice the original estimates. Can you imagine what the cost of the Brazilian stadiums will be 4 years from now? The obvious well and truly boggles the mind.

24 April 2010

Minister of Sport Orlando Silva lets a big cat out of a small bag

In a nod to the geography of the obvious, Orlando Silva Jr., Lula's Minister of Sport, confirmed yesterday that only 8 cities are necessary to host the World Cup. Cities that have not begun their construction projects by May 3 run the risk of being eliminated from the tournament. This includes Rio de Janeiro, Natal, Salvador, São Paulo, Cuiaba, Manaus, and a couple others that have not yet made public the bidding for the projects


Silva also confirmed that it was president Lula that made the decision to have 12 instead of 8 cities involved in the World Cup, comfirming the notion that the World Cup is an opportunity for political favoritism, paybacks, nepotism, and party politics to run their unhappy course. No one has yet mentioned anything about the problems of having the head of the CBF also direct the Local Organizing Committee or that his daughter is the secretary general, or that they're both related to the former president of FIFA.  


The World Cup should happen in Brasil, but it should not be a German, Swiss, French, or British World Cup. It can be done with fiscal constraint, with intelligent planning, with coordination between cities and states, with the involvement of urban and regional planners, with intelligent architects who design stadiums that fold into the urban and social fabric before, during, and after the Cup. Since the projects have yet to begin, there is still hope, but time is running out


The minister's unscripted recognition (that he later recanted) that there are multiple projects way behind schedule, and that the federal government could not and would not take responisbility for overssing the projects because they "are an issue that the cities and states have to deal with", clearly demonstrates a lack of co-ordination and the faulty institutional structures that allow billions to flow seamlessly from government coffers into private pockets, while delivering hastily constructed behemoths that have no relationship with the people and places in which they squat






19 April 2010

Maracanã robbed! Botafogo Wins Carioca, the odyssey begins

The office of TWA, the company responsible for selling tickets to the Maracanã was robbed on Saturday, complicating ticket sales for the final game of the Taça Rio between Botafogo and Flamengo (won by O Glorioso). How is it that an office housed within the stadium itself, guarded by a special Stadium Police Force (GEPE) and a private security firm, behind 3 meter gates can get robbed the night before the final game of the championship? Strange indeed. 


Other robberies probably took place during the game as the law requiring that all game receipts be made public within 24 hours has been ignored by FERJ. The only information regarding attendance and money is that there were 50,303 paying spectators that generated R$ 1,677,565, for an average ticket price of R$33.34 - far above the R$19,00 average for the semi-finals. This is obviously incomplete information as the Vasco x Flamengo game had more than 6,000 free tickets issued. The entierty of the receipts for the Campeonato Carioca can be found here - with the glaring exception of yesterday's final. Curious. (Note - the receipts were posted on Tuesday 20/04)


With the end of the Carioca, we may actually see the beginning of the construction project for the 2014 World Cup, but don't hold your breath as there don't appear to be any architects, engineers, or anyone at all contracted to carry off the R$ 600,000,000 reforms. 


11 April 2010

Vasco (1) x Flamengo (2)


Well, nothing like a sour taste in one's mouth to end a trip to the Maracanã. To com sabor bastante armargo na boca depois de um gol legal anulado, um penalty duvidoso, e as orelhas cheio de cantos Mengistas. Mas tudo bem, foi um jogo emocionante (de nível muito baixo) e pode ser a ultima vez que vou ao Maracanã antes das reformas começam. Para seguir com o mistério de FERJ, aqui estão os dados do jogo:
Renda: R$ 774.920,00 Público Pagante: 24.299 pessoas Público Presente: 32.442 pessoas. That's 8.143 people in for free, when the tickets for the arquibancada were R$50. Which means that the clubs, FERJ, the CBF and whoever else gained free tickets worth R$407.150. Multiply this by the 18 games Flamengo played in the Campeonato Carioca and you get R$7.328.700. And the clubs wonder why they are going broke. They're getting robbed by thier own federation and club directors. Tudo que acontece no futebol brasileiro sai de uma caixa preta que tem sete chaves para abrir nove cadeados. Não da, não. 


Some photos from the day:











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