On a recent work trip to Poland I asked my host if he thought Ukraine would be ready for Euro 2012. His response was “Never mind Ukraine – I’m not sure Poland will be ready!” Perhaps he was being unduly pessimistic. Certainly Poznan’s stadium is looking good already:
Rather more worrying, I would argue, is the lack of preparedness for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Research just published by Brazil’s Institute for Economic Research (IPEA) and reported on the Sport Business website (1) includes the following gems:
- Only two of 13 airport terminal construction projects are on schedule to be completed by the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
- A third airport might be ready for the tournament “if everything goes right”, but the shortage of air travel provisions would cause transport problems for fans.
- It’s increasingly unlikely that these projects will be ready on time.
- State-owned airport authority Infraero “has a low level of efficiency in the execution of investment programs”.
- Even if all 13 airport upgrades were to be ready on time, 10 are expected to be operating over capacity by the time of the World Cup.
- Fourteen of Brazil’s 20 largest airports are already operating at more than 80% of capacity.
- The World Cup is expected to attract up to one million visitors.
- In addition to the 13 airports being upgraded for the World Cup, a brand new airport in Natal, another World Cup host city, still has no firm date for completion.
The map on the FIFA website (2) makes clear how important air travel will be for fans to move between venues, road and rail not being viable alternatives. Flying distances can be checked out here (3) – Rio to Manaus, for example, is 1,765 miles, almost exactly the same flying distance as London to Ankara in Turkey.
I’d have to put my hand up and admit that my level of Portuguese is, well, completely zero, but if any reader can abstract more relevant info from the IPEA website I’d be glad to hear from them – the URL for the original report, is, I think, given a Google Translator fail, http://www.ipea.gov.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8039:jornal-brasil-economico-rj-de-13-aeroportos-em-construcao-para-a-copa-9-nao-ficarao-prontos&catid=159:clipping&Itemid=75
So, potentially another fine mess Sepp has got us into. By the way, it’s interesting to note what the IOC said in their evaluation report leading up to the award of the 2016 Olympics to Rio: “Necessary expansion plans for Rio International Airport will increase its capacity from 15 million people per year to 25 million by 2014.” (4)