26 November 2010

Good news for World Cup Researchers!

I ran across Marcia Lins, the Rio State Secretary for Tourism, Sport, and Leisure at Soccerex this week and was able to get in some questions regarding the Novo Maracanã project. The following is a transcript of my interview with her that was actually quite encouraging for researchers (if SUDERJ agrees to folow through). Also encouraging is that the Brazilian public can look forward to yet another website to follow the money trail. Though it cannot possibly be worse than the www.trasparensciaolimpica.com.br site, it will definitely be more fun!


Geostadia: What are the mechanisms for the public to monitor the public spending on the Maracanã?

Lins: At the end of this month (November) we are launching a site that will accompany the reforms of the Maracanã. This site will have the whole project with time tables, details, costs, photos, so people will be able to accompany the work being done, give suggestions, etc. It will be totally interactive with a virtual model that will show how our Maracanã will be. We will also have a model with historical photos from the archives. This site will show how the Maracanã will be for the World Cup and the Olympic Games.

Geostadia: Will there be space for people to interact with the site?

Lins: Yes. There will be a part for people to leave a message if they like what they see, the emotions they feel, what they think about the direction the work is taking.

Geostadia: When will the site be launched?

Lins: We’re finalizing it now and the idea is to have it ready before the end of the year.

Geostadia: Where will the site be accessible from?

Lins: It will be linked to the webpages of SUDERJ, the Secretary of Sport and Leisure, and the State Government, we’ll also link it to various other sites that have been created in relation to the World Cup such as the Local Organizing Committee. We will also continue to have an overlook within the stadium so people can watch the Maracanã being prepared and this overlook will allow people to have a view of the work in progress…the Maracanã model will be on display as well as the historical display that is currently there.

Geostadia: During the time that the Maracanã is under construction will the SUDERJ archives be open for researchers and journalists?

Lins: The archives will continue to be open and will be accessible via the glass tower which will not undergo reforms [note: the glass tower was constructed in 2000 and was intended to host the FIFA Soccer Hall of Fame, but the money disappeared and the project was never completed]. Everything is accessible there, the blueprints, the photos, the newspapers. The whole archive will not be open but there will be more than one thousand items on display.

Geostadia: And this is open today?

Lins: All you have to do is ask us. It is not open to the pubic but it will be open for research

note: I have repeatedly sent emails to Carmen Dittz, the curator of the SUDERJ archives since September of 2009, have gone to the Maracanã on numerous occassions to try to get access to the archives and have never had any success, despite having met personally with Mrs. Dittz on one occassion (August 2009). The Memory Center currently in place is best and easily forgotten. I must compliment SUDERJ on reducing the price for entry to the Maracana from R$20 to R$10 and for eliminating the R$8 extra that one had to pay to enter the Memory Center. Now that the reforms are underway the field and dressing rooms cannot be visited and so the price was dropped. However, the Memory Center is an embarassment. 

Here is the model of the Novo Maracanã  revealed at Soccerex:

 I am not sure how this differs from the model the released in July: 











But it is very different from the original project:

Missing from all of the mock-ups are the advertising boards that will surround the field. These advertising boards were the source of a 6 week delay in the project because those of FIFA are 30 cm higher than those typically used in Brasil. Thus,the sightlines were all wrong and FIFA sent the architects back to the drawing board. 

When we finally get some access to the detailed plans they will be discussed at length and depth (unlike the field of the Novo Maracanã which is losing 7 meters in length and 5 in width - pode dizer campo de society?)!!!

And finally, for today, the concrete teardrop:

The Rio State Goverment, as part of their display at Soccerex, gave away pieces of the Maracanã stands as souvenirs. I find it so ironic as to be laughable and so absurd as to be sad that the government, in the name of the people, is using the very concrete worn down to smoothness to sell a new space of consumption for the global marketplace. The budget for the Novo Maracana is R$709 million. This price will double, easily. Combining the 2005-2007 reforms with the 2010-2013 reforms, the stadium will have been closed for 5 years (losing revenue), and will have undergone approximately R$2 billion in reforms while reducing the capacity from 129,000 to 75,000. Will the current reforms be sufficient for the Olympic Games? Why were the R$430 million reforms undertaken for the PanAmerican Games just destroyed? How does one establish a budget for a project without first knowing what the project will entail? How many foreign contractors will need to be hired to complete the technical details of the Maracana? How many millions of reales will the maintenance costs of the Novo Maracanã be over the current stadium? Why is SUDERJ so hard to communicate with? Why is it that three years after Brazil's selection as WC host, is there no mechanism in place for evaluating the way public money is spent? What are the qualifications of the LOC members to organize a World Cup? Who are these people and what are their interests and connections?

 



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