FIFA, soccer's world governing body, tried to downplay the significance of a stadium collapse in Brazil over the weekend, but the incident left the world's press wondering about the country's suitability for hosting the World Cup in 2014. At the very least, the collapse, which killed seven and injured 40, is an indication of the amount of work that lies ahead of Brazil prior to hosting the world's biggest sporting event.
"The challenge is huge in Brazil," Alexandre Massura, a World Cup facilities consultant said following the incident. "The last venue built was 50 years ago, and by 2014 we have to give the world 12 new facilities." Massura, speaking from the Soccerex conference on business and soccer in Johannesburg, added that new stadiums would help Brazilian clubs recoup more revenue. "Talented players in Brazil should not be the prime, or the only, revenue stream for clubs or teams. New infrastructure, new buildings and alternative revenue is what is needed," he said.
The victims of Sunday's calamity, on hand to watch a Brazilian Third Division game at the Fonte Nova stadium in Salvador, fell 49 feet through a 10-foot wide hole that opened in the stadium's concrete stands. Ironically, FIFA last week issued a report on Brazil's stadia stating that the five-time World Cup champion could put on an "exceptional" tournament. Though Fonte Nova is not on the preliminary list of 18 stadiums that could be used for the 2014 tournament, the collapse won't do FIFA or Brazil any PR favors, as the country was controversially uncontested in winning the bid.