Sunday, December 19, 2010

Qatar Invests Big in World Cup, Economic Makeover

Qatar is expecting to spend more than $65 billion preparing to host the 2022 World Cup. That investment, however, is aimed more at remaking the country's economy and international position than hosting the tournament.

Qatar will build nine stadiums and refurbish three more and plans to equip each with solar-powered air conditioning to fight temperatures that approach 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in the summer. The sheikdom promised FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, to more than double hotel and apartment rooms to 84,000 and build a $25 billion rail and metro network. South Africa said it spent about $11.4 billion preparing for the 2010 World Cup, or about $232 per person.

“The event is a catalyst for the development and the expansion of the economy and population overall,” said Mark Proudly, associate director at property adviser DTZ Research in Doha.

Qatar Places $65 Billion Bet on Remaking Economy in World Cup Preparation
December 16, 2010

Infrastructure Remains a Concern in Brazil Ahead of Mega-Events

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, infrastructure concerns are rapidly increasing in Brazil.

President-elect Dilma Rousseff has pledged to rebuild and revitalize airports, roads, ports, railways and power plants as part of efforts to improve infrastructure. Her administration may create an agency or secretariat for aerospace issues, Valor Economico newspaper reported Nov. 23.

Such a plan “makes sense,” Rosangela Ribeiro, an analyst at brokerage SLW Corretora said in a phone interview from Sao Paulo. “We have a big infrastructure problem, and this jeopardizes the flights. I think it can have a positive result.”

Rio Must Act to Avoid Airport `Disaster' Before World Cup, Governor Says
December 17, 2010

Qatar's World Cup Infrastructure to be FInished in '7 Years'

Qatar's Prime Minister is pledging to finish all of the country's 2022 World Cup-related infrastructure projects within 7 years.

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani said: “All our infrastructure shall finish in seven years maximum”.

Qatar PM: Infrastructure "shall finish in 7 years"
Construction Week Online
December 16, 2010

San Francisco Looks to Host 2013 America's Cup

Officials in San Francisco have approved the city's bid to host the 2013 America's Cup, an international sailing race. Major infrastructure upgrades would be built if the city wins the bid. The decision will be made by the end of the year.

Ellison’s team is actually sponsored by the city’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, and all the supervisors had to agree to was some $80 million in infrastructure upgrades and long-term leases on select pieces of waterfront property. After the 11-0 vote was handed down, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom quickly signed the order. If the city had not approved the bid by Friday, San Francisco’s chances would’ve been severely hampered, as race organizers wanted some assurances before making a final decision.

San Francisco Close to Securing America’s Cup
December 15, 2010

Russia To Upgrade Rail to High Speeds Ahead of 2018 World Cup

Russia plans to expand and upgrade its rail system ahead of the 2018 World Cup to include high speed links between host cities.

New services designed to cut journey times and run more frequently than present services will be built between Moscow, Kazan, Samara and Ulyanovsk, Putin said.

"It will be a powerful incentive for the development of high speed rail services in the European part of Russia," he said.

Putin promises high speed travel during 2018 World Cup
RIA Novosti
December 12, 2010

South Africa Sees Small Return on World Cup Expenditures

The South African government is reporting a $500 million return on the $4.6 billion it spent to host the 2010 World Cup.

Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa's tourism minister, said just 309,000 foreign fans attended the tournament, compared to predictions of 450,000.

South African-based companies also failed to reap the benefits of the tournament, according to a study by KPMG. Just 22pc of KPMG's 100 biggest African clients, including several multinationals, said they had benefited from the World Cup, compared to 45pc predicting a boost last year.

South Africa recoups just a tenth of the £3bn cost of staging World Cup 2010
The Telegraph
December 10, 2010

Qatar Kicks Off 200 Projects in Early 2011

More than 200 projects are expected to launch in Qatar during the first quarter of 2011, as the country prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.

Qatari planners met and decided to launch a staggering 200 projects in different areas by the Q1 of next year, saying these ventures would herald the start of preparations for the 2022 World Cup Soccer.

Dr Ibrahim and Ibrahim from the General Secretariat for Development Planning said that "Decks are cleared for the launch of the above projects as part of the National Development Strategy 2011 to 2016.”

Qatar to launch 200 projects in Q1 of 2011
Steel Guru
December 9, 2010

Cruise Ship Camping During 2022 World Cup

Though currently unable to accommodate the amount of guests expected at a World Cup, Qatar has plans to boost its hotel capacity ahead of the 2022 World Cup, and plans to use cruise ships as temporary hotel spaces.

"There are plans to double the supply of rooms in hotels and guest apartments by 2022 to cover the everyday requirements of an economy that is expected to continue growing strongly," the world's governing soccer body said in its official report on the evaluation of the Qatari bid.

Qatar proposes "more than 240 different properties" mostly in the four-star category but also several in the three and five-star category and a few two-star properties, it said.

Qatar to use cruise ship for World Cup accomodation
December 6, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Improving FIFA's World Cup Hosting Requirements to Create Better Cities

[Note: This is a blog post I wrote for Planetizen's blog, Interchange, which includes an academic-type paper I wrote on FIFA's requirements for World Cup host cities.]

[B]ecause of the minimal requirements made of the cities hosting World Cup matches, how cities prepare for the event is hardly a concern to FIFA, soccer's international governing body. Whether hosting the World Cup makes a city exponentially better or terrifyingly less efficient is irrelevant to FIFA, based on how it guides the cities intending to host this event. The long-term impact of the event is hardly considered, and its potential to create the sort of vast civic improvement projects often resulting from such international event hosting is ignored. By not acknowledging the urban interventions made by host cities in preparation for World Cup hosting, FIFA is essentially turning a blind eye to the possible great things its event can bring to or inspire in cities.

Why Hosting a World Cup Doesn't Matter for Cities, and How it Can
December 2, 2010

$100 Billion In Infrastructure for Qatar

Economists are predicting more than $100 billion (USD) worth of investment in infrastructure ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Much of that investment is expected to be through public-private partnerships.

A compelling statistic the report reveals is the present value of major infrastructure projects currently under construction in Qatar which amounts to over US$55Bn, around half of the estimated US$100bn to be awarded in the near future.

"The build-up to the World Cup will give additional momentum as well as push ahead the time frame of these projects," added James.

...More than $75bn has been invested in this sector since 2004.

''World Cup Will Spur'' Qatar's $100bn Infrastructure Projects Market
The Peninsula
December 5, 2010

Critic: Long-Term Impact Unlikely from Russia's 2018 Investment

Critics argue that the $10 billion investment Russia plans for its infrastructure ahead of the 2018 World Cup won't be enough to make a long-lasting impact on its cities.

Yulia Tsyplyayeva, chief economist at Moscow's office of BNP Paribas, said Friday that Russia badly needs structural reforms but the World Cup is unlikely to give an impetus to them.

Russian cities to get hollow World Cup facelift
December 3, 2010

Durban Leads South African Cities As Potential Olympic Host

Durban appears to be winning the race among four South African cities interested in a potential bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The bidding process is expected to begin formally in 2011, and the host will be selected in 2013.

Durban appears to be in the driving seat, positioning itself strongly and developing the Kings’s Park sporting precinct.

The precinct runs from the Moses Mabhida Stadium to the Durban International Convention Centre and provides, among other things, a 76 000-seater stadium, several small stadiums including Absa Stadium, a cycling track and an arena suitable for indoor sports.

A senior city official said the city had already begun its lobbying process, with KwaZulu-Natal’s premier, Zweli Mkhize, notifying the South African bid committee of the province’s willingness to back the city’s bid.

Durban ahead in Olympics bid
Sport 24
December 5, 2010

A Peek at Moscow's World Cup Stadium

Fast Co. Design offers this look at some of the renderings for the proposed World Cup stadium to be built in Russia ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

The stadium, VTB Arena Park, is designed by Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat and his Russian partner Mikhail Posokhin. Their plans include building a park with public green space, shopping, restaurants, training facilities, and even a hotel. The big design move here is the redevelopment of the Dynamo Moscow Stadium, a football arena and erstwhile Olympics venue built in 1928. With the new setup, two stadia will be plunked down over the old one, so that the existing perimeter facade is neatly preserved.

Here's Moscow's Showpiece Stadium for the 2018 World Cup
Fast Co. Design

Power Utility a Profitable Legacy of 2010 Olympics

A heat-from-sewage facility built in Vancouver's 2010 Olympic Village is working so well that city officials are able to charge customers less for power and still take in a profit.

In what city engineers said is a happy and surprising discovery, the cost of operating the facility has dropped by 40 per cent while recovery from heat generated from sewage pipes has risen.

As a result, the utility, which provides heat to all of the Olympic Village as well as surrounding commercial and residential buildings, has already met its target of being price-competitive with BC Hydro, Brian Crowe, an assistant city engineer, told city council Thursday.

Next March Hydro will raise electricity rates across the province to about $87 per kilowatt hour. But the city's utility, which services about 1,600 homes and businesses, is able to offer a price of $84 per kilowatt hour and still make a reasonable profit for the city, Crowe said.

Olympic Village's heat-from-sewage utility a monetary success
The Vancouver Sun
December 2, 2010

China Eyes World Cup - In 20 Years

China is still interested in hosting the World Cup, though FIFA's host rotation and selection rules will keep it out of the running until the 2030 World Cup.

By selecting Qatar, FIFA precluded a 2026 bid from China, since the same continent cannot host consecutive World Cups. That would seem to make 2030 the first year for which China has a realistic chance of winning a bid.

Wei told Titan Sports that a choice of date remained open and acknowledged differences of opinion over the matter within the country's sports bureaucracy and society at large.

China says still interested in World Cup bid
The Associated Press
December 2, 2010

Brazil's World Cup Delays

Delays are plaguing Brazil's 12 World Cup host cities, including Rio which is also preparing for the 2016 Olympics. The delays have raised doubts in some people's minds that the country will be able to pull off these major events.

Practically all the works which were to have been carried out starting in May in the 12 venues across Brazil for the football tournament have run into delays, and the December 2012 deadline for completion is looking iffy.

Yet that's the date needed because Brazil is also hosting FIFA's Confederation Cup in 2013.

In June this year, just half the 12 Brazilian cities hosting games have started work to get stadiums and infrastructure into shape, triggering a warning from FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke to get cracking.

Brazil's World Cup preps dogged by doubts, delays
December 2, 2010

Longshot Qatar to Host 2022 World Cup

Considered a long shot when it first announced its bid, Qatar is now set to host the 2022 World Cup -- and seemingly has the money to make it work.

Qatar is promising to spend $42.9 billion on infrastructure upgrades and $4 billion to build nine stadiums and renovate three others. All those stadiums, Qatar says, will have a state-of-the art cooling system that will keep temperatures about 27 degrees C (81 degrees F). Similar cooling systems will be used at training sites and even fan zones.

It also made a strong argument for the legacy of the tournament, since it would be the first time the event is held in the Middle East. Blatter seemed to be taken by that when he visited Doha earlier this year, saying the region deserved to host a tournament.

The region has the demographics that any sports federation covets: nearly half the population of the Gulf is under 30 years old. Qatar also brings a powerful media ally as the patron of the Al-Jazeera network, which reaches nearly the entire Arabic-speaking world.

Qatar: From longshot to 2022 World Cup host
Sports Illustrated
December 2, 2010

A Look at Five of Qatar's 2022 World Cup Stadia

This post from Business Insider shows five videos of the proposed stadia to be built in Qatar for its 2022 World Cup.

Earlier this year they revealed their $4 billion plans for nine futuristic stadiums to hold soccer matches in the middle of a desert summer.

See The Amazing Stadiums That Will Hold The 2022 World Cup In Qatar
Business Insider
December 2, 2010

Russia and Qatar to Host 2018, 2022 World Cups

Russia has been selected to host the 2018 World Cup, and Qatar has been selected to host the 2022 World Cup. These will be the first World Cups hosted by both countries.

Qatar, with 1.7 million people, only 300,000 of whom are citizens, is the smallest nation to host a World Cup. But with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, it won with a bid that urged FIFA officials to make history as well as money. The success of the 2010 tournament, which was held in Africa for the first time, apparently further emboldened FIFA officials to continue to take its grandest spectacle to yet another part of the world, something that places soccer’s vision far ahead of the Olympics.

Russia and Qatar Win World Cup Bids
The New York Times
December 2, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

South African Businesses Missing Out on Possibilities of World Cup Stadia

As venues sit empty and unused, South Africa's World Cup organizer is calling out the business community for missing out on opportunities to use the country's World Cup stadia.

He cited Soccer City's failure to capitalise on the Spanish tourists who flock to the site where Andres Iniesta's solitary strike secured Spain's maiden World Cup triumph.

"What do we offer the many tourists who come to the venue where Spanish soccer recorded its finest hour?" asked Jordaan.

"They come to see the stadium where their team conquered the globe and we offer them nothing. All they can do is just sit on the stands, pose for a picture and that's it.

World Cup stadiums are cash cows
November 27, 2010

Despite Violence, Games Officials Promise Safety in Brazil

Games officials in Brazil are trying to clam nerves about safety issues during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro amid violent attacks in one of the city's most notorious slums.

Brazilian authorities have claimed that recent attacks by drugs gangs are a desperate response at police efforts to take control of their turf in more than a dozen slum areas.

The local organising committee of the Rio Olympics also promised a trouble-free games.

"The Rio 2016 committee has full confidence in the security plans which have been elaborated jointly with the three levels of government (municipal, state and federal) and presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)," it said.

Soccer-Brazil says Rio violence will not affect World Cup
November 26, 2010

Vancouver Transit Use Boosted During Winter Olympics

The city of Vancouver saw large jumps in transit use during the 2010 Winter Olympics, according to a new report. However, the jumps are mainly due to increased service during the games.

The Host City Olympic Transportation Plan Downtown Monitoring Study looked at how people got around during the February 12-28 Winter Games, and compared the findings to previous transportation monitoring efforts conducted by the City of Vancouver and its partners. On an average Olympic Games weekday there were approximately 1.17 million trips into or out of the downtown Vancouver peninsula – close to 44 per cent higher than the pre-Games weekday average of 813,000 person-trips.

City of Vancouver sets transportation records during 2010 Winter Games: UBC study
Eureka Alert
November 23, 2010

Infrastructure Cited As Main Concern for Brazil

Infrastructure is causing major concerns in Brazil, where officials are hoping to continue the country's growth in power among world economies.

Sun-drenched fields produce grain twice as fast as the rest of the world, but getting that grain to port across unpaved roads can cost almost half its value. Mineral deposits lie untouched for lack of rail lines to move them to markets.

Investors drawn to the country's sophisticated financial markets struggle to travel between major cities because congestion leaves airports in chaos. (Graphic on Brazilian infrastructure:

These problems will not prevent Brazil from emerging as a major world economy, said Edemir Pinto, Chief Executive of the BM&FBovespa (BVMF3.SA) exchange operator.

Brazilian infrastructure lags behind the boom
November 24, 2010

Favela Cleanup Program Spurs Violence in Rio

Violence has erupted in Rio de Janeiro as the state expands on a program to try to clean up the city's crime-riddled favelas. The impact is intended to refresh the city's image ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Rio authorities say the violence is in reaction to a two-year-old policing project, known as the "pacification" program, to root out organized drug-fueled crime by occupying favelas (or shanty towns). The program involves setting up heavy policing units to reclaim slums from gangs, and authorities say it has "pacified" 13 favelas since its inception.

To supporters it has been a one-of-a-kind success. For skeptics it is smoke and mirrors. The answer generally depends on where you live.

Rash of Rio violence rattles even hardened residents in Brazil's World Cup host city
The Christian Science Monitor
November 24, 2010

Brazil Tries to Calm Concerns About Crime Ahead of World Cup

Amid recent violence, officials in Brazil are insisting that the 2014 World Cup will be a safe event.

Justice Minister Luiz Paulo Barreto made the comments as Rio de Janeiro tries to contain a surge in violence, with gang members blocking roads and setting cars on fire in the city expected to host the World Cup final four years from now.

Barreto downplayed the recent concerns, saying security will reach its maximum level during the World Cup.

"We will be at an advanced level, with the police properly prepared," he said in the opening of a three-day meeting with government officials, local authorities and FIFA executives in the nation's capital. "The competition will take place in an environment of a lot of peace and tranquility."

Brazil insists 2014 World Cup will be peaceful
USA Today
November 23, 2010

Airports a Potential Embarrassment for Brazil

The Brazilian Sports Minister is warning that the country's airport infrastructure will be an embarrassment for the country during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro if not improved.

Orlando Silva warned that not enough progress was being made in improving airports in the vast country which depends almost exclusively on air transport for long-distance travel.

"Today, I have a very strong concern about our airports," Silva told reporters during the Soccerex conference.

Brazil's airports a potential embarrassment: minister
November 23, 2010

Brazilian Officials See Opportunities in World Cup Preparations

Officials in Brazil are hoping to cash in on their investments for the 2014 World Cup, and to create a broad legacy from the event.

The city of Rio and the federal government's national economic growth acceleration plan (PAC) envisages investment of 4bn Brazilian reais ($2.33bn; £1.46) for the city.

The investment will be concentrated in three areas: logistics (including roads, railways, ports, waterways, and airports), energy (including generation and transmission of electric power, petroleum, natural gas and renewable energy) and various other social and urban projects.

Brazil looks to score sporting and economic legacy
November 22, 2010

No Return Possible on Brazil's Stadium Investments

Economists are saying it will be impossible to generate a return on Brazil's $2.8 billion investment in stadia for the 2014 World Cup.

Brazilian states are awarding contracts that may be worth as much as $18 million a year to groups that run Amsterdam Arena and Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz to oversee facilities planned for the 2014 tournament. New York-based IMG Worldwide Inc. is looking at sites, chief executive officer Ted Forstmann said in an interview.

Arenas are being constructed in the financial hub of Sao Paulo through to poorer areas such as the Amazon state capital, Manaus. A financial return on the new buildings is “impossible” because most soccer stadiums are used too infrequently, according to Paul Fletcher, a former commercial director of London’s Wembley Stadium.

Brazil Seeks `Impossible' Return on $2.8 Billion World Cup Site Spending
November 22, 2010

Brazil's Airports Blasted as Unready for Crowds

Brazil's airport infrastructure has been blasted by an official at a major airline association as being unready to host crowds associated with the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

The language used by Giovanni Bisignani, CEO of the International Air Transport Association, to describe Brazil's overwhelmed airports at an industry conference Thursday was some of the harshest criticism yet leveled at the nation on the topic.

"Brazil is Latin America's largest and fastest growing economy but air transport infrastructure is a growing disaster," he told industry leaders at a meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association in Panama. The organization represents 230 airlines around the world.

Air transport group critical of Brazil's airports
November 19, 2010

UK Eyes Bill to Guide Games Bidding Process

The UK government is looking to approve a Major Sporting Events Bill to help during the bidding process for major international sporting events.

Such events are becoming increasingly professional and, hence, place increasingly onerous and complex demands on the nations hosting them.

Winning a bid frequently requires the passage of new legislation as a matter of urgency.

The drafting of a new, generic sports events Act - covering issues such as visas, ticket touting, image/trademark protection and advertising - could, it is felt, act as a template for any event, leaving specific details to be addressed via a statutory instrument.

Exclusive: Government plans to introduce Major Sporting Events Act
November 15, 2010

London Olympics Costing Less Than Expected

Olympics officials in London are projecting lower costs for hosting the event. Recent estimates put the total cost of hosting the event $46.9 million lower than previously expected.

The report estimates the final cost of the Olympics and Paralympics at $11.6 billion, after $32.3 million was cut from the budget of the main stadium. That includes a savings of $11.3 million by scrapping a planned fabric wrap around the venue.

Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive David Higgins said organizers have saved a total of $1.2 billion since construction began.

Cost of London Olympics trimmed $46.9 million
USA Today
November 9, 2010

London Plans Cable Car Over Thames Ahead of Olympics

Transportation planners in London are proposing a cable car system across the Thames River, to be built in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Transport for London has now sent its plans for the £25 million project - which would connect the Royal Docks in east London with the O2 in south-east London - to Newham and Greenwich councils and the Thames Gateway Corporation.

If approved, the scheme would entail construction work on two two-storey stations either side of the river, as well as three towers supporting the cable, with the project scheduled for completion in time for the 2012 Olympics in east London.

Cable car scheme could create civil engineering jobs
November 11, 2010

Banks Offers $11.8 Billion for Sao Paulo-Rio Rail by 2016

Brazil's national development bank, BNDES, has offered to lend nearly $12 billion to help fund a high speed rail link between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the country's two biggest cities.

The 30-year loan will pay interest of 6 percent plus another percentage point in fees related to credit risk, state lender BNDES said in a statement. Borrowers will only start paying the loan six months after the expected start of the train service between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro by 2016.

The BNDES funding is equivalent to 60 percent of the estimated 33 billion reais cost of the project. The consortium that will build the railway will be picked in an auction scheduled for Dec. 16, the statement added.

Brazil offers to lend $11.8 bln for high-speed train
November 8, 2010

Creating Better World Cup Legacies

This post from The Shin Guardian looks at the often negative impacts of World Cup hosting, and offers some ideas about how the event can be reframed to create more positive legacies for the host cities and their people.

♦ FIFA should pay for at least 75% of all stadium renovation and construction projects undertaken for the World Cup. Infrastructure projects related to the World Cup cannot take form unless they were already indicated as part of a city’s master plan. If improvements in access and transportation to stadiums need to be made, they need to go through the same democratic planning procedures as other urban infrastructure projects.

♦ All World Cup stadium projects must include spaces that are dedicated to the preservation and continuation of local football cultures. This could take the form of “living museums”, soccer fields, education facilities, or cultural centers.

Brazil 2014: Proposing Alternatives
The Shin Guardian
November 2, 2010

Brazil's Green Building Industry Grows Ahead of 2016 Olympics

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are expected to help boost the green building industry in Brazil.

Global concerns about the impact of arenas and stadiums led the International Olympic Committee to require arenas built for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro meet international standards for low carbon emissions and energy efficiency.

This has boosted local interest in developing real estate that with lower environmental impact than existing buildings, a trend that comes as the Brazilian government is carrying out a long-term infrastructure expansion program meant to make its economy more competitive.

Brazil Olympics spurring green construction
November 3, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Japan Banks on Tech in 2022 World Cup Bid

With plans to present holographic versions of the matches, Japan's hoping its technology focus will help it secure hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup.

The hyper application would include other services, including a digital ticketing system combining matches and public transport, an electronic money service, GPS navigation to venues, match commentaries and a real-time automatic translation system supporting 50 languages.

The action on the field will be captured by 200 mini cameras and 70 microphones in the stadium, creating 360 degree coverage of the pitch.

"Viewers would be able to choose a viewpoint, which could be from the centre circle, the goalkeeper's position or the referee's perspective," said Nakajima, adding that the sound would even allow spectators to hear the players breathing.

"They can manipulate the perspective so that it would be very personal."

Japan banking on technology for 2022 World Cup bid
October 27, 2010

Qatar's Eco-Friendly Stadia Take Heat Over High Energy Demand

The Emirate of Qatar is touting its high-tech plans for eco-friendly stadia as part of its bid to host the 2022 World Cup, but some environmentalists argue that there's nothing environmentally conscious about a major stadium in the middle of a desert that will require massive amounts of energy.

As the Middle East environmental blog Green Prophet points out, creating an environment that allows people to watch and play sports in one of the hottest places on the planet will require a lot of energy. Mark Fenwick, one of the architects involved with the project, admitted as much, saying: "Certainly the most important challenge for stadium design in the Middle East has to do with the need to cool the interior environment to an acceptable level, especially in the summer months."

Qatar's Green Plan for a 2022 World Cup Stadium: Is It Really as Eco-friendly as It Looks?
October 29, 2010

Security the Big Challenge for Rio: IOC Chief

Security and to a lesser degree transportation will be the top two challenges Rio de Janeiro will need to tackle ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics, according to Jacques Rogge, head of the International Olympic Committee.

“I’m not saying Rio is not equipped (to confront the problem).

On the contrary, but I have to say that the number one issue is security. We are talking about human lives.

“The second main problem, and it’s one that can be applied to all editions of the Games, with a few rare exceptions, is transport.”

Security wil be Rio's biggest Olympic challenge: Rogge
November 1, 2010

South Africa's Lessons for Brazil in Overinvestment and Poor ROI

The economic impact of the World Cup has been mainly a loss for South Africa, according to this piece in the Financial Times -- a reality that the author says Brazil needs to face sooner rather than later.

South Africa had been saying the tournament would increase tourism, create jobs, build useful infrastructure, etc. But she realised: “It wasn’t going to be giving us the benefits that we had told the country the World Cup was going to give us.” True, Johannesburg’s creaky transport links would improve a bit, but “it wasn’t as much as we had thought”. And so, over a year before kickoff, Gauteng quietly binned hopes of economic bonanza. Somehow the officials forgot to tell the South African people, but then running a province keeps you busy. In the event, predictably, the tournament went well over budget, and attracted few big-spending visitors. I recently got an e-mail from an official at one South African university, which had reserved 92,000 “bed-nights” for football visitors. Shortly before the tournament began, he says, Fifa’s booking agency returned 91,000 nights unused. “We are still trying to sell off the additional linen we had to purchase,” the official complains. If sports economists are right, the Cup won’t boost future tourism and foreign investment in South Africa either.

South Africa’s football lesson
Financial Times
October 30, 2010

London Tube Gets Wi-Fi Ahead of 2012 Olympics

Wi-Fi Internet access will be installed on a trial basis in a London Underground station. Officials are hoping to have wireless Internet access in the entire system by the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The six month trial will bring wi-fi connectivity to the ticket hall and both the Bakerloo and Northern line platforms.

It will be free for BT broadband customers and for mobile users with free wi-fi minutes.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson wants to see widespread mobile coverage.

The Charing Cross trial begins on 1 November.

Tube gets first wi-fi connection at Charing Cross
October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

With Management Company Out, Stadium's Future is Uncertain in Cape Town

The city of Cape Town had justified the major expense it was taking on to build the brand new Green Point Stadium for the 2010 World Cup by pointing to the fact that it had contracted a management group to make sure the stadium remained in use and pulled in revenue. But now that company has pulled out and the city's $639 million stadium is treading towards white elephant territory.

Capetonians are divided over whether the stadium is an elegant icon or a useless monument to South Africa’s excessive spending on the World Cup. Other stadiums – such as the 45,000-seater Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit, which cost R1.3bn (€134m), and the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane (cost: R1.25m) were always expected to become white elephants. But Cape Town’s stylish stadium was the most expensive of the 10 World Cup venues, leading everyone to believe that the number crunchers considered it sustainable.

The empty stadiums: South Africa’s white elephants
October 21, 2010

Blair Touts Physical and Cultural Legacies of Games on Trip to Brazil

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently met with officials in Brazil to advise the country on its Olympic preparations. He stressed the importance of long-term physical and cultural legacies.

He said one of the most important benefits of hosting major events is not only improving infrastructure and building top sports facilities, but also to encourage the use of sports to aid communities.

"Part of the legacy is about what sport can do to society," he said. "Sport today is far more important that just sport itself. It can be used as a great anti-crime policy, a great health policy."

Blair hopes the London Games will give youngsters the chance to discover sports and learn what it can do to their lives. He added that many of them first learn basic social skills thanks to sports.

Blair to Rio Olympic organizers: Focus on legacy
USA Today
October 26, 2010

Stadium Work Could Spread to Brazil for South African Companies

Some of the South African companies that helped build and renovate that country's stadia for the 2010 World Cup are bidding to do similar work in Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Several have pitched for construction and renovation of some of the 12 stadiums in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. The South American country last hosted the tournament in 1950.

While the South African government allocated more than R8.4-billion ($1.9 billion USD) for building and renovating 10 stadiums, Brazil will be spending a reported R18.6-billion ($2.6 billion USD) on its 12 stadiums.

Brazil eyes our stadium builders
October 24, 2010

Sochi Construction Re-Discovers Archaeological Site

An 8th century archaeological site in Russia that was discovered in the 1950s and then lost again has been re-discovered during the massive construction and preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

When the Imereti lowland was chosen as a construction site for future Olympic venues for the Sochi Winter games in 2014, almost every corner was carefully surveyed and that's when this part of history was rediscovered.

Sochi Olympics construction dredging up archeological sites
Russian Times
October 25, 2010

World Cup Hosting Not Worth it for Australia

Despite the touted merits of hosting a mega-event like the World Cup, Australia doesn't stand to benefit as much as other countries might, writes Richard Tomlinson, an urban planning professor at the University of Melbourne.

A dramatic example is that the anticipated $4 billion benefit for cities in the US of hosting the 1994 World Cup were later found to have resulted in a net cost to the host cities' economies of $9.26 billion. With independent academics now accepting that no economic benefits can be expected from hosting the Olympics or a FIFA World Cup, attention has turned to what is called ''legacy planning''.

The London 2012 Olympics legacy is intended to be urban renewal. But prosaic legacies are not being marketed in Australia.

Lucky the country that loses its Cup bid
The Sydney Morning Herald
October 23, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Russia Withdraws 2022 Bid in Hopes of Securing 2018 World Cup

Russia has withdrawn its bid to host the 2022 World Cup and shifted its bid to the 2018 bidding war.

Russia and England are bidding to stage the 2018 World Cup along with joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands while Japan, South Korea, Qatar, United States and Australia are candidates for 2022.

Russia pull out of 2022 World Cup bid
October 22, 2010

U.S. Focuses on 2022 World Cup Bid

The U.S. has officially withdrawn its bid to host the 2018 World Cup, but it remains in the running for the 2022 Cup. With England heavily favored to win the 2018 hosting duties, the U.S. team is hoping for better chances at securing hosting duties in 2022.

Australia, which withdrew its bid to host the 2018 edition in June, joins Japan, South Korea, Qatar and the U.S. as hopefuls for 2022.

U.S. Withdraws 2018 World Cup Bid, Vies With Japan, Korea For 2022 Site
October 15, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Doha Metro Relies on Successful World Cup Bid

Officials planning a new subway system in Doha, Qatar, say work on the metro system could begin as soon as December -- as that is when the country will know whether it has been chosen as host of the 2022 World Cup.

One contractor said that “We believe to stimulate the procurement process for rail in Qatar it will be driven by the announcement of the 2022 World Cup. A lot depends on Fifa.” Another industry observer said that “If they (Qatar) get it then it will all be ready by 2020. If not, it will be delayed and they will maybe just do one line of the metro. The 2022 FIFA bid will play a prominent role in the speed of development of the rail network.”

Doha metro could move ahead in December

Group Wants 2024 Olympics in Hawaii

A group at the University of Hawaii is trying to push an effort to lure the 2024 Olympics to Honolulu.

Associate Professor Amy Christie Anderson and her team have conducted preliminary research, created early designs and mapped out three staging options: spreading the events around the Hawaiian Islands, collecting them along Oahu’s south shore from Kapolei to East Honolulu, or concentrating everything in a single area such as Kalaeloa or Iwilei.

Many cities and countries use the Olympics to market themselves to the world. Of course, Hawaii already has a global image, but the Olympics might sell the idea that this is a place to do more than just relax on the beach.

Can Hawaii Capture the 2024 Olympics?
Hawaii Business
October 2010

England, U.S. Shake Up 2018/2022 World Cup Bids

As the United States considers pulling out of the running for the 2018 World Cup, England is thinking about pulling out of the 2022 race, which some suggest is a good sign that England will win 2018 and the U.S. will win 2022.

England and other European bidders Russia, Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands are still vying for both events as a formality.

The United States is the only non-European country still contesting both editions, after Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea focused their resources on 2022.

The Americans have said they will withdraw from 2018 bidding only if asked to by FIFA or UEFA president Michel Platini.

England to withdraw 2022 World Cup bid and focus on 2018
The Canadian Press
September 28, 2010

Incoming Brazilian President Will Have Hands Full of Sport

As Brazil's presidential election heads into a runoff election, the new head of state will be faced with a number of challenges -- mainly related to the country's hosting of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Great uncertainties hang over the ambitious plans submitted to FIFA and the International Olympic Committee.

The 2016 Olympic Games will be the first held in South America, and Rio de Janeiro, the host city, will need around $17 billion in public and private funds to stage it, according to official and independent estimates.

Forty percent of that sum will have to be invested in transport, to resolve Rio's chaotic road system and languishing rail network, and to boost the bus fleet and metro system.
Security is also a priority to tame endemic violence. Urban reorganization will have to take place. The number of hotel rooms need to be doubled.

Olympics, World Cup: challenges for Brazil's new president
Agence France Presse
September 28, 2010

Tough Lessons for Delhi from Commonwealth Games

Seen as a major opportunity for Delhi and India to showcase themselves, problems early on instead highlighted endemic issues.

Hosting the Commonwealth Games was supposed to be India's chance to show the world that it had left behind the old stereotypes of an economy blighted by corruption and political interference.

Sadly for them their preparations for the Delhi Games have shown that staging these events do have a potentially damaging downside.

Rather than beaming images of gleaming stadiums and happy athletes producing world class sport the last 24 hours have reminded India that the 24 hour modern media culture has a nasty downside. Get it right and the world sits back and applauds. Get it wrong and your failings are transmitted to the globe's rolling news networks.

Delhi learning downside of hosting Games
September 22, 2010

Sochi's Building Boom

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, have spurred a building boom in the surrounding area, with work going on virtually around the clock.

Proof of the positive results of the discussions of Sochi’s investment attractiveness was quite around the corner. Even though it’s more than three years to go before the start of the Winter Olympic Games-2014, the city and the nearby territory is dotted with construction sites. Contractors work day and night, and the frames of some of huge constructions to be commissioned already next year and in 2012 look quite impressive. The region has made an emphasis on Sochi’s charm as a Black Sea resort city as well as development of its infrastructure and transport.

“Sochi has always been an investor’s attraction and it remains such especially now that we are getting ready for the Winter Olympic Games. With the amount of attention our government pays to this project, I think investors can be sure of tomorrow,” said Sochi’s Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov.

Round-the-Clock construction goes on in Sochi
The Voice of Russia
September 21, 2010

London Worries About East End Legacy of 'Middle Class Ghettos'

Without proper planning, redevelopment in London's East End for the Olympics could create a middle class ghetto after the event, warns the Olympic Park Legacy Company’s design head, Ricky Burdett.

Speaking during a public debate on the Olympic Park after 2012, Burdett warned that 30 years of investment in east London had done little to raise its socio-economic profile and that unless the Olympic Park was stitched into its setting, little would change beyond the park’s perimeter.

He said: “I am reminded by major urban developments of the last 60 years that have become nightmares that any large-scale intervention like this could do something very negative.

“The worst thing it could do is create a massive ghetto of people who are different from those who are there.”

Ricky Burdett warns against Olympic middle-class ghetto
Building Design
October 11, 2010

Qatar Tries to Boost 2022 Bid With Solar-Powered Stadium

As part of its bid to host the 2022 World Cup, the middle eastern country of Qatar has unveiled plans for a solar-powered stadium.

Revealed at the ‘Leaders in Football’ conference in London this week, the stadium incorporates environmentally friendly cooling technologies to keep spectators and players cool in Doha’s extreme heat. The concave profile of the stadium’s outer enclosure incorporates a system of operable louvers, while the central section of the saddle-form roof can be extended or retracted to allow the pitch to be open to the sky or fully covered.

Encircled by a reflective pool of water, spectators enter the stadium via six bridges that cross the “moat.” To give the impression of floating above the concrete seating bowl, the roof is discreetly supported by a ring of arching columns.

Solar-powered stadium to bolster Qatar’s bid for 2022 World Cup
October 7, 2010

Games Head Says Sochi Olympics Might Not Need Public Funding

Olympics officials in Russia have claimed that the 2014 Olympics in Sochi may not need any public funding.

Sponsorship revenues are already over $1.0 billion, making Sochi by far the most successful winter Games organising committee in that respect, and even look likely to surpass Beijing's $1.2 billion domestic sponsorship revenue mark for its much bigger 2008 summer Games.

"It is true we have exceeded our (sponsorship) plans but we have now established new plans," [Games chief Dmitiry] Chernyshenko told Reuters a day before the start of an International Olympic Committee (IOC) coordination commission visit to monitor progress.

INTERVIEW-Olympics-Sochi may not need public funds - Games chief
October 11, 2010

New American Football Stadium Near L.A. Has Eyes on World Cup Duties

Designers of a proposed NFL football stadium in the city of Industry, California, have announced plans to build the stadium to FIFA specifications to enable it to play host to World Cup matches should the U.S> win its bid for the 2022 tournament.

FIFA requires a World Cup field be 75 yards wide, so Majestic Realty Co.'s adjustments are to ensure the facility meets soccer Switzerland-based governing body's specifications, and principal architect Dan Meis told the Associated Press that the plans can be further altered to meet any additional guidelines FIFA might set before the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.

"Because we’re building a new stadium, we could incorporate anything FIFA could want," Meis said.

NFL stadiums with World Cup in mind? Wise

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

San Francisco Eyes Waterfront Redevelopment for America's Cup Bid

The City of San Francisco has unveiled a broad waterfront redevelopment plan in accordance with its bid to host the America's Cup.

[I]f city officials are successful in their plan to host the next America's Cup, the drab Piers 30-32 would be transformed into a striking bayfront amphitheater and sailing showplace - a focal point of a revived waterfront stretching from the Bay Bridge to south of AT&T Park - all without tapping taxpayer funds.

Under a proposal that Mayor Gavin Newsom's administration recently presented to race organizers, the city would provide free land and future development rights on the property in exchange for the America's Cup event authority paying $100 million to $150 million to shore up the piers, dredge the area around them, and install new breakwaters and utility lines.

San Francisco's plan for hosting America's Cup
San Francisco Chronicle
September 4, 2010

Olympics: Causing or Curing Ecological Issues in Sochi?

A Russian vice-premier is trying to convince locals that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will help the resort city to deal with various ecological problems, despite reports that construction for the event had been tainting the environment.

"The main heritage of the Olympics is that ecological problems will be resolved. We have been eliminating dumps, launching an incinerator, and will resolve the issue of polluted water run-off into the sea," Kozak told reporters during a working visit to Sochi.

Last week, the head of the city's ecological council was quoted by Russian daily Novaya Gazeta as saying that the ecological situation in Sochi had worsened significantly over the past six months mainly because of the growing number of cars and increasing construction pace combined with the absence of full-fledged environmental protection measures.

Winter Olympics will help tackle ecological problems in Sochi - Russian vice-premier
Ria Novosti
September 13, 2010

Bid Deadline Nears for London Olympic Stadium Takeover

A deadline is approaching for private firms to submit bids to take over operations of the new Olympic stadium being built for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

So far only three parties are known to have expressed an interest but a "handful" of others are expected in the next fortnight.

They have until September 30 to submit their bids to the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC).

The OPLC is the body which is tasked with finding a tenant for the 80,000-seater venue in Stratford, east London.

Who'll Take Over London Olympic Stadium?
Sky News
September 16, 2010

New Terminal Opens at Sochi Airport

A new $200 million USD terminal has opened at the Sochi airport, the first of the city's broad Olympics-related projects to complete.

The terminal is the first major facility commissioned for the games and ticks off a box on Russia’s long to-do list in preparation for the event.

The new terminal is fully operational and services both domestic and international flights. It boasts the latest know-how in ecological and resource efficiency and the most modern equipment, the company said in a statement.

New Sochi Airport Terminal Opens
The Moscow Times
September 17, 2010

Sochi Olympics Fuel Transportation Infrastructure Spending

Transportation infrastructure spending is on the rise on Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Industry officials expect the national market to increase 4% to roughly $23.5 billion USD.

Spending to build roads and bridges for the 2014 Sochi Olympics has already peaked, he said, as the projects are slated to be operational in 2012.

Despite the impressive size of Russia's road construction market, it has no foreign contractors because of the high entry barriers, Mozalyov said.

Infrastructure Spending Is Rising, Builders Say
The Moscow Times
September 17, 2010

Bridge Collapse Just One Worry at New Delhi's Commonwealth Games

The collapse of a bridge near one of the main stadia to be used in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi highlights construction delays. Some are concerned that venues won't be ready in time and that the event will have to be postponed.

Representatives of the dozens of countries participating in the Commonwealth Games, a quadrennial competition among members of the Commonwealth of Nations, started arriving in Delhi in recent days to look at facilities and conduct security checks. The athletes’ village, built for the Games, is not ready, they say, and questions linger about security after an attack on tourists in Delhi on Sunday.

On Tuesday afternoon, a bridge next to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main Games venue, fell apart. The footbridge collapsed into three pieces, taking several workers with it and uprooting one side of the arch that supported it.

Bridge Collapses at Commonwealth Games
The New York Times
September 21, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rio Stadium Work Begins, But Still Behind Schedule

Six months behind schedule and in danger of being removed from the list of World Cup host stadia, Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium has finally entered its renovation stage.

The work, budgeted at 705.6 million reais ($398 million) started with the removal of the seats in the lower ring of the stands in the stadium, the likely venue for the final.

Renovations will see the stadium's capacity reduced by more than half to 45,000 for the next 50 days and then closed.

The work is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31, 2012, in time to stage the Confederations Cup in Rio the following year.

Maracana work for 2014 World Cup gets underway late
August 25, 2010

Manchester Argues its Case to Play World Cup Host

This piece runs down the reasons why Manchester should be one of the World Cup host cities should England be selected to host the event in either 2018 or 2022.

11: The city has two fantastic stadiums already in place, underlining the fact that England already has the facilities to host the 2018 tournament – unlike Russia.

12: There is no need to worry about the transport links either. Manchester Airport is the busiest in the county outside London in terms of passenger numbers.

13: And on the ground, Old Trafford is well served by both train and tram, while the Metrolink will be extended to Eastlands long before 2018.

14: In addition, Manchester is at the heart of the country’s motorway network, so it’s easy to get around.

15: The city’s sporting and transport infrastructure is one of the main reasons FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes it would be, in his words, “easy” to host the World Cup in England.

99 reasons why we should host the World Cup
Manchester Evening News
August 25, 2010

Critic Blasts Russia's World Cup Bid

Only two of the 13 proposed host cities in Russia have the adequate infrastructure to host such an event, according to Russian sports expert Yury Ivanov. He calls the bid a big waste of money, and largely at the whim of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The sports expert says that one can compare Russia’s situation with South Africa’s in the run-up to the world cup this year. Pretoria spent some three billion dollars to get ready, Ivanov says, but “Russia’s expenses, considering all [its] problems with corruption will be one and a half times greater.”

The idea of pursuing the world cup, the writer says, “according to rumors belongs to Vladimir Putin,” and that explains why “the tactics of the struggle of the Russian Football Union … repeat the pattern of the struggle for the Olympiad in Sochi: Everything is being build on the basis of the personal guarantees of the prime minister.”

Putin’s Pursuit of Sports Glory Busting Russia’s Budget
Georgian Daily
August 23, 2010

The Preparation Challenge for Brazil

As Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, much sport-related work is underway. But beyond the fields and venues, the country has major infrastructure, transportation and safety issues to address.

About 60 percent of the sports venues are already completed because Brazil hosted the 2007 Pan American Games and -- with an eye toward capturing the big prize -- built those facilities to Olympics specs.

But billions of dollars of sports-driven projects from port renovation and airport overhauls to the construction of major highways, transit systems, stadiums and an Olympic Village complete with a beach are planned. Besides accommodating the influx of fans, athletes and officials, the goal is to leave a lasting legacy for Brazilians.

Brazil getting extreme makeover in preparation for Olympics
The Miami Herald

Russia Needs to Start Stadium Work Now for 2018

FIFA inspectors who were visiting Russia to review the country's bid for the 2018/2022 World Cup have warned officials there that they'll need to push harder to get their proposed stadia built in time for the event, should Russia be chosen to host.

Russia's bid proposes 14 new stadiums in 13 cities and a massive overhaul of the national infrastructure as part of its bid, making it the most ambitious and expensive competitor for the 2018 tournament.

Inspection team leader Harold Mayne-Nicholls said work would have to start immediately. "I would like to emphasise that, in the case the Fifa Executive Committee decides in December that the World Cup will go for the first time in football history to Russia, work would need to start immediately, to guarantee that everything will be in place right in time."

Fifa warns Russia over rush to meet 2018 World Cup building deadlines
The Telegraph
August 19, 2010

Sochi: Hard at Work

With many major infrastructure projects underpinning its hosting duties for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Russian city of Sochi is hard at work transforming itself into an international sporting area.

It means the construction of a new winter community in the North Caucasus mountains, the construction of 300 kilometres of roads, 100km of rail, 39 tunnels and 24 thermal and hydro power stations.

"We are well on track," asserts Mr Chernyshenko, a native of Sochi who was handed the games' baton five years ago.

"Our construction site is now probably competing in terms of size with London's," he says.

Sochi games boss in 2014 Olympic marathon
August 19, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Brazil's Long-Term Benefits

A new study out has examined the investments Brazil is making in infrastructure ahead of the 2014 World Cup and how those investments can turn into long term benefits for the country.

This summer, Ernst & Young and the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) set out to provide answers to such questions. In late June, the two organizations released a sixth installment of their Sustainable Brazil series, entitled “Social and Economic Impacts of the 2014 World Cup”.

The study includes analysis of the socioeconomic impacts of the World Cup and how to make the World Cup “greener,” and it aims to identify ways in which Brazil can ensure that “the event lasts not only a few days, but many years, leaving a positive legacy for society as a whole.” It’s an issue that TheCityFix has explored before, when we considered the legacy of the Olympics. The recent Brazil study predicts that the country’s economy will “snowball,” growing by more than five times the R$22.46 billion (US$12.8 billion) spent by Brazil to ensure adequate infrastructure and organization.

This means that in total, from 2010 to 2014, an additional R$142.39 billion (US$81.39 billion) will flow in Brazil, creating 3.63 million jobs per year, and R$63 billion (US$36 billion) in additional income for the population.

Brazil’s Green World Cup
The City Fix
August 18, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

London Officials Eye Olympic 'Landmarks'

Officials in London are already calling the city's Olympic venues "landmarks" for the city.

Indeed, organizers are enthusiastically trumpeting their projections that the 9.3 billion pound ($15.2 billion) Olympic project is both on schedule and on budget.

Granted, original financial estimates almost tripled shortly after London was awarded the Games in 2005, beating out Paris and New York, among others. And once the budget was set, the global economy went into the loo, ensuring that finances would match logistics among the massive challenges to creating a successful Games in a city so old, complex and densely populated.

Though London will be the first city to play host to a Summer Games for a third time, it has been a while and the first time the city truly won a bid to do so.

London landmarks for 2012 Games
The Toronto Sun
August 14, 2010

London Seeks to Host Gay Games in 2018

London is hoping to parlay its hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympics into a second event, the 2018 Gay Games.

“In my role as Minister for Sport and the Olympics, I am the person responsible for Olympic legacy. Providing a sporting legacy from the 2012 Games is my top priority. We are committed to provide a lasting legacy for athletics. It is vital that we use the 2012 Games to get more people involved in sport and to ensure that our elite athletes are receiving the best possible opportunities and we are working closely with our partners to achieve this goal,” [said Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport and the Olympics from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport]

London bids to host official Gay Games 2018
August 13, 2010

Huge Costs Expected for Russia's 2014 Olympics

Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Olympics could end up costing nearly £20 billion (~$31 billion USD), which some residents see as a waste of money. Much of the high cost is due to large infrastructure projects, such as a tunnel road that's expected to cost roughly $7.8 billion.

With four years still to go, that figure will dwarf overall spend for Canada's Vancouver Olympics of about £3.5bn.

The 2014 Games in Sochi, on Russia's southwestern coast, are already dogged by massive controversy and allegations of corruption.

Many homes are in the process of being demolished to make way for the six-stadia Olympic Park.

Russia Pays High Price For Winter Olympics
Sky News
August 11, 2010

Brazil's Infrastructure Ranks Low

A new report blasts Brazil's infrastructure as some of the worst in the world.

“We spent decades without making investments and that led to growing problems now showing in the current state of our infrastructure,” LCA Consultores chief economist Braulio Borges, who authored the study, said.

Port infrastructure was responsible for Brazil’s appearing at the bottom of the list with an alarming 2.6 points, wide apart from the 4.2 world average. In railroad quality, Brazil’s 1.8 points were ranked only better than Colombia’s. World average railroad quality was 3.1 points.

Brazil faring poorly in infrastructure quality
Buenos Aires Herald
August 14, 2010

Brazilian Airport Updates Behind Schedule

Work has been slow to complete on Brazil's airports, which officials have pledged to update ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Local authorities and tournament organizers have acknowledged that the airports' lack of capacity is one of the main concerns in Brazil's preparations and that significant improvements are needed to accommodate the expected 600,000 World Cup visitors.

A recent report by a government watchdog known as the Brazilian Audit Court warned that renovations in some airports may not be completed by 2014.

Brazil yet to start work on most World Cup airports
August 13, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2018/2022 Bids: Where They Stand

The Financial Times runs down the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and assesses the chances of each country winning. Though the bidding process for 2026 hasn't even begun yet, China's recently stated interest in hosting that year's event could play a role in determining the host of the 2022 tournament. Both the 2018 and 2022 hosts will be announced on December 2, 2010.

For now, though, insiders are tipping Russia for 2018. Fifa delights in tapping new markets through World Cups. Russia is a white spot on Europe’s footballing map. It has never hosted a major football tournament. Crucially, it can muster more lobbying might than its rivals. When Vladimir Putin phones asking for your support, you probably say yes. A Russian World Cup would cost a lot, but if Putin wants to spend the money, Russia will.

As for the 2022 World Cup, the most important words spoken in this race came from a country that isn’t even bidding. Wei Di, new head of China’s football federation, said this month: “I think China should apply for the World Cup [of 2026].”

China’s government will make the decision, not Wei Di. But Fifa would love China to bid. If the country signals it will, that would shape the race for 2022. If China gets 2026, no Asian country could stage 2022, because continents cannot host twice running. The only non-Asian bidder for 2022 is the US. So if China wants to bid, the US would surely get 2022.

Cold war rivals vie to stage football’s big event
The Financial Times
July 30, 2010

A Look at Qatar's Bid for the 2022 World Cup, and its Potential Impact

The potential for nation-building is one of the strong attractors of Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup, according to this piece from the Huffington Post. THe piece looks at the country's bid and some of the proposed stadia it seeks to build for the event. One interesting note is that Qatar's bid, in contrast to far-reaching bids of nations like the U.S., makes plans for all stadia to be within about an hour's drive of one another.

They have demonstrated their ability to host large events with the success of the Asian Games held in Doha in 2006. With no shortage of money to devote to construction, the key focus of their promotional bid video is their five proposed new stadia. Each is designed by Albert Speer & Partner, a firm with a history of working at more intrepid scales in the Middle East than at home in Germany.

For a region not shy of symbolism, it might be no surprise that a familiar list of metaphors weighs the proposal down: the dhow fishing boat (Al Shamal Stadium); the seashell (Al Khor Stadium); the national flag (Al Gharafa Stadium); and the oasis (Al Wakrah Stadium), which might also make up for the sole missing metaphor, the pearl, in the form of a spherical glass dome.

Qatar's Bid for World Cup 2022: To Build a Nation or a Region?
Huffington Post
August 2, 2010

Infrastructure Brazil's Limiting Factor for Foreign Investment

Infrastructure tops the list of concerns for business people considering investing in Brazil, according to a new report. Transportation is an especially sore spot for the country as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

This is an excerpt of a new report from UK-based bank HSBC, Brazil unbound: How investors see Brazil and Brazil sees the World.

In our survey, nearly one half of respondents (49%) point to “low standard or costly infrastructure including telephones, transport networks and utilities” as the main operational obstacle, far more than selected corruption, poor governance (34 percent) or skills shortages (32 percent), the state of transport infrastructure is particularly dire. In spite of some improvement in logistics, freight depends on costly road haulage; there are few railroads; the potential for waterways remains largely unexplored; and ports and airports are congested. This can add one quarter or more to the cost of getting goods to market, say investors.

Investing in infrastructure has been at the heart of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s growth program (the so-called PAC, launched in 2007), but progress has been limited. Fewer than half of the targets for 2010 have been met (with much of the proposed financing going to first-time home owners, rather than into physical infrastructure). High public spending commitments are crowding out the paltry 1 percent of GDP that is proposed for investment in infrastructure, while limited private sector investment in transport will not make up the shortfall.

Brazil: Shaky Infrastructure
Latin Business Chronicle
August 2, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Amazon Bridge Opens Opportunities, Poses Threats

A new bridge being constructed over the Amazon River near the northern Brazilian city of Manaus is seen as an opportunity to expand the region's economic viability and connectivity with the rest of the country, but also a threat to the neighboring rainforest. Manaus is one of the 12 cities hosting the 2014 World Cup.

The bridge - the first on the world's greatest river system - symbolises the surging development at the heart of the world's largest rainforest and will bring much-needed economic opportunities for those living on the far bank. But environmentalists fear that the bridge, combined with new gas pipelines, roads and rising populations, could open up the rainforest to further destruction.

Manaus is the steamy and sprawling industrial capital of the vast Amazonas state, manufacturing the latest flatscreen TVs and mobile phones for the whole of Brazil. It has been an island of wealth for 200 years, but it is now opening up in all directions.

The bridge runs from north to south, to the undeveloped towns of Iranduba, Manacapuru and Novo Airão and towards the untouched jungle. To the west, a 600km gas pipeline will next month begin powering a huge new electricity power station by bringing energy from a pristine part of the forest at Urucu into the city.

First Amazon bridge to open world's greatest rainforest to development
The Guardian via Environment South Africa
July 29, 2010

Africa Must Wait 20 Years for Olympics, Says IOC Official

An official with the International Olympic Committee says it's unlikely an African city will host the Olympics within the next 20 years. South African officials have announced their intentions to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics following the successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

“There is a huge amount of work to be done besides political desire, hence the experts’ view that any realistic chance for (hosting the) Olympics in Africa is between 2030 and 2040,” said Nawal El Moutawakel, who chaired the IOC’s coordinating committee for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

“I have read studies by some universities specialising in the Olympics who gave Africa between 2030 and 2040 to host the Games and that is a very realistic chance because Olympics is a different ball game,” she said.

Africa must wait 20 years for Olympics
Reuters via Zimbabwe Independent
July 29, 2010

Sochi Corruption Investigation Seen As Stunt

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an official corruption investigation over alleged bribes related to construction in Sochi ahead of the city's 2014 Winter Olympics. Many is Russia view the investigation as a fluff effort to try to convince people that the government is acting against corruption.

The Novaya Gazeta story focuses on Vladimir Leshchevsky, deputy of construction in the Kremlin's Office of Presidential Affairs – a vast empire that owns about $500 billion worth of former Soviet Communist Party property. It alleges that he took about $5.7 million in kickbacks from the Moskonversprom consortium of construction companies in connection with the renovation of two Kremlin-owned Sochi area sanitoriums.

"To really fight corruption he would have to fire [Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin, who is at the center of the Sochi Olympic scandal, but that's not going to happen," says Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and a leader of the liberal opposition who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Sochi in polls last year that some criticized as Kremlin-manipulated. "So he orders an investigation of Leshchevsky, a nobody. It's just a PR action."

Medvedev orders corruption investigation into Putin's Sochi Olympics
The Christian Science Monitor
July 29, 2010

Mixed Use Coming to London's East End via Ikea

Swedish furniture corporation Ikea is building a 1,500-unit mixed use development near the Olympic village in London's East End.

it is here, at Sugar House Lane in Stratford, that Inter Ikea, the investment and construction arm of the Swedish furniture giant, has bought a 13-acre site. Within the next few years, Inter Ikea will have built a mixed-use development consisting of office and retail space as well as lots of Ikea housing – some 1,500 units or so – and it has already started working on a master plan for the site.

Peter Andrews, the chief executive of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC) , says that he fully expects it to become "a Covent Garden in the East End". A retail, housing and leisure hub abutting the Olympic Park, this Ikea village will be one of the things making the new East End a place in which people will be proud to live, as well as a tourist destination to die for.

Home Swede home: A new 'village' on the 2012 Olympics site is to be designed by Ikea
The Independent
July 30, 2010

London Bike Sharing System Opens

A new bike sharing system has begun its first phase of operations in London. The effort is part of a plan to increase cycling in the city and to ease transportation throughout the city during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The initiative, which follows similar projects in cities including Paris and Montreal, aims to ease overcrowding on London's commuter network, with 400 bicycle "docking stations" from Notting Hill in the west to the Tower of London in the east.

"The new system could transform the way Londoners as well as tourists navigate the city," said a spokesman for Transport for London (TFL), the capital's main travel authority.

Nicknamed "Boris's Bikes" after cycle-mad Mayor Boris Johnson, the system is free for the first half hour, although the rate rises steeply if the cycles are used for longer periods, with a maximum daily charge of 50 pounds ($78).

Hire scheme aims to get Londoners on bikes
July 29, 2010

Special Olympic Lanes Cause Worry About Traffic During 2012 Olympics

Special lanes will be closed to public traffic during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Some commuters are already worried about the traffic congestion likely to pervade throughout the city during the event.

The 60 miles of lanes will be in addition to the Olympic Route Network (ORN) which will be roadwork-free and cover 2.5% of the capital's roads.

The ORN will be used by 82,000 people and cost about £25m.

The lanes will total nearly 60 miles in length, while the ORN, which will include measures such as closing side roads, banning turns and altering traffic light sequences, will comprise of more than 100 miles in London and about 170 miles outside London.

Games Lanes' for athletes at 2012 London Olympics
July 29, 2010

Brazil 'On Track' In Face of 2014 World Cup Deadlines

Despite some concerns about stadium readiness, officials in Brazil claim that the country's infrastructure and preparations are on track to meet deadlines for the 2014 World Cup.

Brazil, like South Africa, will use the quadrennial soccer championship to remake the physical infrastructure of the country, investing almost $19 billion in projects in the 12 host cities. Silva said $6.5 billion would be spent to upgrade public transportation, with $3.1 billion to be spent on airports. The federal government will pay for 70 percent of the total investment, with provincial and municipal governments covering another 8 percent.

“The World Cup is a national project,” he said. “This makes preparing for the World Cup somewhat complex.”

Brazil on Track for 2014 Despite Early Criticism of Stadium Plan
The New York Times
July 28, 2010

Airport Capacity a Concern in Brazil Ahead of 2014

A new report warns that Brazil's airport capacity is too low to handle the expected 146 million travelers entering the country by 2014. Airport expansion is one of the priorities of the government ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

For years, infrastructure bottlenecks have been one of Brazil's biggest problems as growing auto sales and airline travel, along with a furious expansion in commodities industries, have put strains on ports, highways and airports.

Brazil is already under fire for being behind on construction of stadiums and other World Cup infrastructure.

A report by the consulting firm McKinsey and Co said at the close of 2009, seven of Brazil's 20 principal airports were struggling with overcrowding in both passenger areas and plane berths that frequently led to delays or canceled flights.

Brazil airport capacity lags as World Cup looms
Reuters via Fox News
July 27, 2010

Favela Clearance and Renovation Planned in Rio

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has announced a broad plan to clear and clean up some of the city's favelas. The dirt road slums would be replaced with paved roads, properly built homes connected to water and electricity -- a project expected to take roughly 10 years.

The plan would affect over 260,000 households and would cost over $4.5bn (£2.9bn), Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said.

Hundreds of Rio's favelas will be re-built and 123 of the most "at risk" slums will be torn down.

Approximately 13,000 families in the 123 areas to be cleared would be relocated, Mr Paes said.

Rio plans to clear slums ahead of 2016 Olympic Games
July 27, 2010

Logistical Challenges Create Harsh Reality for Brazil's 2014 World Cup

Brazil is deep in its preparations for the 2014 World Cup. But logistical challenges -- like the amount of hotel rooms in smaller host cities -- remain unsolved.

But holding a World Cup spread out over 12 cities in a continent-sized country will be anything but easy with challenges that include renovating and building stadiums, adhering to World Cup standards and making sure airports around the country are ready to handle the volume of fans, athletes and officials expected for the Copa Mundial.

Some host cities, such as Manaus in the Amazon, have a serious shortage of hotel rooms.

It will be the first World Cup held in Brazil since 1950 and the first in South America since Argentina hosted the event in 1978. In the intervening years, the scope of the event has changed tremendously.

Read more:

For next World Cup, Brazil gets the ball rolling
The Miami Herald
July 26, 2010

East End Regeneration in Question as Economy Worsens

Regenerating London's East End has been a major element of the city's 2012 Olympic plans. But with tight economic times, some worry that the $14.3 billion Summer Olympics will distract too much money away from the troubled neighborhood.

"The most enduring legacy," Britain promised in the bid, would be "the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there."

Yet while building progresses on schedule in the future Olympic Park—Europe's biggest construction site and one of the biggest regeneration projects in British history—locals fear the broad urban renewal so central to the bid could become a lesser priority. Since winning the right to stage the Games five years ago, London has gone through a deep recession and a collapse in the real-estate market that hasn't spared the Olympics. Private funding that was supposed to help pay for the athletes' village, for instance, couldn't be found, saddling the public purse with the entire construction cost.

East London Hopes for an Olympic Revival
The Wall Street Journal
July 27, 2010

West Ham Closer to Locking Down Olympic Stadium as Future Home

West Ham, a team in the English Premier League, is hoping to lock down a commitment to move their home field to the newly constructed Olympic Stadium in London after the 2012 Olympics are over.

The Premier League club believe switching home grounds will cost them £125 million and have asked the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), who are responsible for the future of the London 2012 venues, for a six-month "lock-out" to hold exclusive talks on the deal.

And, two years before the Olympics start, Brady said: "We'll hear by the end of the month whether we've got it [the lock-out deal].

London 2012 Olympics: West Ham confident over stadium deal
July 27, 2010

Concern and Hope for 2012's Legacy in London

With two years to go before London opens its 2012 Summer Olympics, some locals are wary about the costs and uncertain about the benefits. Sebastian Coe, London organizing committee president, argues the Games will create long-term benefits for the city and the nation.

Organizers also expect to use all of London's majestic sites as telegenic backdrops. The marathon course will take runners past Buckingham Palace and cyclists will race past Trafalgar Square. Wimbledon and its famed Centre Court will stage tennis matches.

But these Olympics aren't only about sending pretty pictures around the world, Coe said, or about providing the best atmosphere for athletes.

His vision is broader.

"The greatest driver of social cohesion in most of our communities is sport," Coe said. "The way the Games have galvanized communities the length and breadth of the country is extraordinary."

Two years before the London Olympics, the focus is global . . . and local
Los Angeles Times
July 26, 2010

London's Olympics A Sporting Catalyst for Couch Potatoes?

London's 2012 Olympics are looked upon as a n opportunity to regenerate part of the city -- and to inspire a new generation of physically active Londoners. Some doubt that sports-centric goal can be met.

Britain's much-trumpeted Olympic legacy following the 2012 Games could amount to little more than the regeneration of a small pocket of east London. With just two years to go before the £9bn Olympic Games become the focus of world attention, questions are being asked about whether they will be able to persuade a nation of couch potatoes to put down the remote and pull on their trainers or trunks.

Despite venue and stadium construction being on budget and ahead of schedule, officials have admitted that there is a "big gap" in plans to increase nationwide participation on the back of the event. Promises of an Olympic legacy were central to London's winning the bid in 2005. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, said yesterday that there was no specific funding set aside for the Games to be used as a catalyst for a surge in sports participation.

What are we getting out of the Olympic Games?
The Independent
July 25, 2010

Sochi's $6 Billion Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are expected to cost more than $6 billion, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. Of that, roughly $2.9 billion will be provided by the government.

Re-settlement of town residents whose houses are to be demolished and lands withdrawn during construction works will cost an extra 12 billion rubles (395.6 million dollars).

He added this was only a preliminary estimation at the moment, as "a great number" of problems remains in place, including customs and border control issues.

Sochi Olympics may cost 6 bln U.S. dollars: official
July 23, 2010

South Africa's World Cup Challenges As Lessons for Brazil 2014

This review of South Africa's World Cup looks at a few key operational challenges faced by the country and how those challenges can inform Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup. Areas of review include FIFA, the Local Organizing Committee, the stadia, and transportation.

Given its geography and state of development, Brazil will face many of the same challenges as South Africa. One way of counteracting the huge distances involved would be to base group games in clusters of local cities; that way the ludicrous distances faced by some teams in South Africa would be shortened. FIFA's Jerome Valcke has already said the plan is to divide Brazil's 12 host cities into four regions to reduce travel times for fans. Closer scrutiny by FIFA of promised transport improvements would be beneficial for all. Earlier this month, LOC chairman Teixiera described Brazil’s problems as “airports, airports, airports". The $5.5billion President Lula this week promised to improve them will help, but FIFA needs to make sure the Brazilian government deliver.

Analysis - What Brazil 2014 World Cup Organizers can Learn From South Africa
World Football Insider
July 23, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Local Hands Building London's Olympic Park?

This video from the BBC looks at whether early promises to hire locals to build London's Olympic Park have been kept.

Organisers say they've been true to their word with schemes to train local people.

However, the feeling among some residents in east London is that the jobs just haven't materialised.

Has 2012 delivered on local Olympic jobs?
July 22, 2010

Citywide Ping Pong Part of London's Olympic Warm-Up

In the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympics, the city is hoping to inspire its people into a healthier existence by placing 100 ping pong tables throughout the city for free use.

It's all to do with fun and fitness. London is hosting the Olympics in 2012 and wants people to get in shape. Ping pong is an easy way to start. The intention is to get a million people playing more sport by 2012. Ping pong is a perfect entree: Sport England's latest Active People Survey indicated a 9,900-person increase in adults who reported playing table tennis at least once a week.

Play Ping Pong Across London
July 23, 2010

East End a Bright Side of Dark London Olympics

The Economist rips into London's plans for the 2012 Olympics, which it has been against from the get-go. But despite the events being what the paper sees as wasteful and expensive, there is some potential for a positive: the regeneration of London's East End.

Its task is to create a place where people will want to live, work and play in a part of town that people have been eager to escape, where jobs have been hard to come by and where welcoming, wide, green spaces are too rare. There are hopeful precedents in the new towns built after the second world war, the garden cities of a century ago and in the private estates built in west London in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There are voices calling for much more social housing in the Olympic Park. It is true that London is short of homes for poor people. But concentrated social housing goes hand in hand with joblessness and enduring poverty: too much of the first will condemn the area to too much of the second and third. To imitate the success of the new towns and garden cities, and to generate jobs and encourage prosperity, the park will need a mix of homes as well as a good swathe of greenery. Get this right, and the games might almost be worthwhile.

Field of dreams
The Economist
July 22, 2010

$12 Billion Boost

The South African government has announced that hosting the World Cup has boosted the country's economy by about 93 billion Rand (~$12 billion USD).

The South African government pumped R30 billion into transport and telecommunications infrastructure and 10 stadiums, which created 66 000 new construction jobs and saw R7.4bn paid over in wages, with R2.2bn going to low-income households.

Upgrading trains and roads took care of R13bn, while R20bn was spent on airports development and R3.5bn on renovations at ports of entry. Another R1.5bn was spent on broadcast technology and R1.3bn on safety and security, including the deployment of 40 000 extra police.

Maseko rejected predictions that World Cup stadiums would become white elephants in the wake of the tournament. "During the bidding process all host cities were made to submit plans about how the stadiums would be used after the tournament," he said.

World Cup's R93bn boost for SA
Pretoria News
July 15, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Japan's 2018/2022 Bid Called 'Balanced'

A group of FIFA inspectors currently traveling around the World have given Japan's bid for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup a positive review.

The group of inspectors from football's governing body made the comments as they wrapped up a four-day visit to Japan, the first leg of their two-month tour of nine candidates vying to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

"We must say that the bid is a very balanced project, mixing football traditions, modern stadiums plus new technology with eco projects and integration with the world," said the team's leader, Harold Mayne-Nicholls.

Japan World Cup bid 'very balanced', says FIFA
AFP via Asiaone News
July 22, 2010

China's 2026 World Cup Hopes Rely on Asian Failure in 2022

China's hopes to host the 2026 World Cup depends firstly on the outcome of the international race to host the 2022 World Cup. Four nations from the same geographical region are in the running for 2022, and should one of them win, FIFA's continental rotation rule would disqualify another Asian region host for the 2026 tournament.

Wei Di, the head of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), returned from South Africa last week and said he was keen to bring international soccer’s showpiece event to the world’s most populous country for the first time.

South Korea, Australia, Qatar and Japan have, however, already expressed their intention to bid for 2022 and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Bin Hammam said his priority was the success of one of those.

China World Cup bid relies on failure of other Asian bids
Reuters via Taipei Times
July 22, 2010

Officials Still Unsure About Sao Paulo Stadium Pick for 2014

Which of the city's stadia will play host during the 2014 World Cup is still in question, as upgrades to the Morumbi Stadium are still progressing too slowly for officials to get behind it. The city has its eyes on hosting the opening match, but capacities at local stadia -- even those under renovation -- may not be enough to accommodate the event's requirements.

City officials and members of the World Cup organizing committee met Wednesday but failed to come up with a stadium proposal to send to FIFA, although they insist the goal is for the city to host the competition's opening match.

No decision yet on Sao Paulo stadium for 2014 WCup
Associate Press
July 21, 2010