Archive for November, 2009

Stadium: Maracana, Rio de Janeiro

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Maracanã was built to host the most important matches of the 1950 World Cup; unfortunately, the stadium also staged Maracanazo, the winning of Uruguay against Brazil in the final match.

Below, an image of Maracanã in 1950; as shown, the Brazilians attended matches in the stadium even before it was completely ready. Original capacity of Maracanã was 166,369, and current is 114,145.


Maracanã is a name of Indigenous origin. Maraca is a rustic musical instrument (basically, small stones in empty coconut shelves, which produce sounds when shaken) used by the indigenous. Maracanã means “sounds like maraca”, which was given by the Indigenous to a small river which runs across the area, from there to the neighbourhood, and from the neighbourhood to the stadium.

The official name of Maracanã is Mário Filho, a journalist who was very vocal in supporting the  building of the stadium.

Maracanazo is just one of the reasons why Maracanã will be the stage of the the final match of the 2014 World Cup; other cities – namely Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte – are disputing the right to stage the opening match, but nobody in Brazil dares to consider a place other than Maracanã for the final.

Other reasons for the uncontested supremacy of Maracanã are: gathered the biggest crowd ever for a football match (nearly 200,000 people in the final of the 1950 Cup); gathered the largest audience for an artistic show (Paul McCartney, 1991, 184,368 people – not to be confused with the largest rock concert of all times, performed by the Rolling Stones in the nearby Copacabana beach to 2,000,000 people in 2006); historical performances by Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, Madonna, Prince, the Stones; historical meetings called by Pope John Paul II; several of the most memorable matches of Brazilian football (including Pele’s 1000th goal).

Below, an image of Maracanã today. The arena is Maracanãzinho (little Maracanã), used for indoor sports. The swimming pool is Aquatic Park Julio Delamare, which used to be the most important venue for aquatic sports, but no longer  - a new complex called Maria Lenk replaced it (there are discussions about whether or not Julio Delamare should be demolished for the expansion of Maracanã).


The new Maracanã will have the capacity reduced to 90,000 people. Below, an artistic image of new Maracanã, produced by the architects hired by the government of Rio to prepare to project to be presented to FIFA.


Below, an image of the neighbourhood of new Maracanã. The stadium is situated in a populated area of Rio, and building the  infrastructure of access to and dispersion from the stadium will be a major challenge.

In the project below, catwalks (in orange) will be built linking the stadium to a large train station to be built; besides, the stretch of railway near the stadium will be roofed, and parking spaces will be built on those roofs.


Despite all challenges, it is certain that CBF, FIFA and Rio will do all they can to prepare Maracanã to justify the status of main temple of football in 2014.

Jobs in World Cup Brazil 2014

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Several people have been accessing this blog looking for information about “jobs World Cup 2014″, “jobs Brazil 2014″ and other similar terms.

Probably the best way to get a job in Brazil during the World Cup is as a volunteer. All host countries of World Cups make a call for volunteers (see volunteer work in South Africa 2010); volunteers gain a lifetime experience, and FIFA gets cheap labor force.

Update: see information about the FIFA volunteer program.

brazil-logoIn Brazil, there will probably be a higher demand for volunteers than in past World Cups. And the reason is that Brazil has very few English (and other foreign languages) speakers, unlike South Africa (where many people have English as first language) or Japan/Korea and France (where there is a high number of educated people who speak foreigner languages).

The advantage of being chosen as volunteer by FIFA is that all volunteers will be granted a Visa to enter and stay in Brazil during the World Cup. And the Visa is a problem for those looking for a paid job in Brazil during the Cup.

Brazil, like most countries, don’t issue visas easily for people looking for jobs (see the legislation about visas to Brazil). Today, a foreigner only gets a work visa under special conditions (e.g., the job vacancy must be offered first to a Brazilian, and the contractor must prove that no national is capable of filling the job, etc).

However, this can change until 2014. Brazil is experiencing a very fast paced growth, and it is clear that Brazilian professionals will not be capable to fill all the jobs which require interaction with foreigner people (e.g., there are no Brazilian doctors capable of talking to foreign patients, there are no Brazilian lawyers capable of handling international laws).

There will probably be opportunities for foreigners to work in Brazil during the Cup, but this will demand changes in Brazilian immigration laws (to facilitate the issuing of work permits). FIFA will probably lobby in favor of such changes, as already happened with tax laws and visual pollution laws.

Only time will tell.

Maracana – biggest human mosaic in the world

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

There are few doubts that Maracanã will be the stage of the final match of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. São Paulo, the most powerful Brazilian State (both in economic and sports terms) is claiming to have the right to stage the opening match of the Cup (in a fierce competition with Brasilia and Belo Horizonte), but nobody dares to claim the final match from Rio and Maracanã.

Yesterday, Flamengo (the most popular team in the World, measured by number of fans) and Goias had a match; Flamengo had a chance to take the leadership of the Brazilian League 2009 (the match ended 0 x 0, Flamengo missed this chance, but is just one point behind leader Sao Paulo FC).

The match was in Maracanã, the largest stadium in Brazil, the largest football stadium in the World. The match was attended by (official numbers, lower than real numbers, as many people get in unregistered) 83,489 people.

flamengoThis figure is far from the record attendance of nearly 200,000 people in the final of the 1950 World Cup; however, as security measures oblige stadium to decrease capacity, it is unlikely that any other stadium in the World will see such big crowd in the near future.

The biggest attraction of the match were not the players or the goals; it was the crowd. Flamengo is not only the biggest, but also the most passionate supporting crowd in Brazil. After several years (last time was in 1992), Flamengo has strong chances to become the Brazilian champion.

To mark the event, Flamengo’s fans created the largest human mosaic of all times. See below.

The human mosaic reads, against a background with the colors of Flamengo, the message: “A Maior Torcida do Mundo Faz a Diferença” (The Biggest Supporting Crowd in the World Makes the Difference).

Flamengo will play again in Maracanã on December 6th, against Grêmio (another ex-Brazilian and World champion), and the match may be deciding the Brazilian championship. Another big party is expected.

New metro station in Recife

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Metrorec, the State owned company which runs the metro of Recife, one of the host cities of the World Cup 2014, just announced that the works to build a new metro station will start in January of 2010; the new station should be finished by the end of 2010.

In Recife, the matches will be played in a complex called Cidade da Copa (City of the Cup), which will include a new stadium called Arena Capibaribe; the complex will be built in the city of São Lourenço da Mata, in the metropolitan area of Greater Recife.

The new metro station will be called Cosme e Damião (the Portuguese for brothers Saints Cosmas and Damian). The new station will be built between the already existing stations of Rodoviária (the inter State bus station) and Camaragibe. The works will be conducted at night, so as to not interfere with the daily traffic of trains and people.

The new station will be at a distance of approximately 600 meters (0.4 mi) of the entrance of the City of Cup, and about 2,5 km (1.6 mi) of the Arena Capibaribe (the dashed red line shows the border between Recife and São Lourenço).


The link between the metro stations and the stadium will be by bus. Metrorec informed that there are plans to create shuttle bus services between the arena and the three stations, Rodovária, Cosme e Damião, and Camaragibe, to try to divide the public and facilitate access and dispersion in days of matches.

This new station serves one of the poorest areas in Recife, and had been expected by local residents for a long time. Governments had a project ready, but lacked funds to build it. The Cup is starting to bring benefits to people of Recife.

CBF – Brazilian Football Confederation

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Anyone who follows the Brazilian football team will hear often about CBF, the powerful Brazilian Football Confederation.

It is a Confederation because it is a congregation of the State Federations. In Brazil, the law determines that each State should have a Federation for each professional sport; see, for example, sites of the Football Federations of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two most powerful in Brazil; see also sites of the Confederation of Volei and Confederation of Aquatic Sports.

cbf-logoUntil 1979, all sports had, at national level, only one Confederation, called CBD – Confederação Brasileira de Desportos; until 1978, the Brazilian uniform brings the letters CBD, instead of the current CBF.

All professional football teams are affiliate to the Federation of the respective State. According to law, there are periodic elections  to choose the President and Directors of the State Federations. Still according to law, the State Federations have the power to elect the President of the Confederation.

This way of managing power in football causes some problems. In a Federation, the vote of all teams have the same weight; so, in São Paulo, for example, the vote of São Paulo FC (the team with most Brazilian championships ever) has the same weight of any team in the second division of that State. Also, in the national voting, all Federations have the same weight; powerful São Paulo has the same voice as the State of Acre, where there is barely a professional championship.

So, the President of CBF is not necessarily the most popular among the teams, much less the most popular among Brazilian citizens and fans. It is possible to happen (and it has indeed happened – the current President has been in office since January of 1989) that the President of CBF is the person with great political abilities to get votes from smaller teams or weaker States, where it is easier to influence voters.

This explains, for example, why the last match of the Brazilian team in the Qualifying for 2010 World Cup happened in Campo Grande (see video), a city in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul. That State was pissed off because it was not chosen as one of the host cities of the 2014 World Cup; the President of CBF brought the match to Campo Grande to try calm down the Mato Grosso do Sul Federation (and possibly gain a vote in the next elections).

Read more information about the Powers of CBF.

FIFA wants more publicity freedom

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

A few weeks ago, FIFA asked the Brazilian Government for a full tax exemption not only for the Association, but to all contractors.

This week, another news brought another evidence of how business oriented FIFA is.

clean-citySince Jan 1st 2008, a municipal law has been in force banning outdoors in certain areas of the city, and limiting the size in others. Such law became known as “Lei Cidade Limpa” (Clean City Law).

A report by the New York Times reads:

“All our efforts to negotiate have had no effect because none of the accords and agreements we reached with the advertising sector were ever complied with,” Mayor Gilberto Kassab said in an interview. “A billboard that was forced to come down would be back up a week later in a different spot. There was a climate of impunity.”

Since “it is hard in a city of 11 million to find enough equipment and personnel to determine what was and wasn’t legal, we decided to go all the way, to zero things out,” Kassab said. “When you prohibit everything, society itself becomes your partner in enforcing the law” and reporting violations.

Popular reaction has largely been supportive.

FIFA thinks differently. Using the argument that world sponsors are going to spend US$ 7 billion during the Cup, FIFA wants the city of Sao Paulo to pass a law allowing privileged conditions for the sponsors to use billboards and other means of advertising during the 2014 event.

Mayor Kassab said that a Commission is studying the demand; one of the  Secretaries affirmed that violations of the laws will not be tolerated, but admitted that a law permitting exceptions during the Cup can be passed.

It’s difficult to say no to FIFA.

Sponsors that will be benefited: Coca-Cola, Emirates Airline, Hyundai, Sony and Visa. Don’t be surprised if you visit Sao Paulo during the World Cup 2014 and all the billboards you see carry these brands.