Romario criticizes 2014 WCup preparations again

Former Brazilian star Romario has again criticized his country’s

preparations for the 2014 World Cup, saying he fears it faces

embarrassment if work on outdated airports is not speeded up.

Now a congressman, Romario said he is certain there will be

overspending in many of the 12 World Cup stadiums and that ”they

will rob” public funds and use the tournament as an excuse.

In an interview with the Bandeirantes network, Romario said it

will be ”chaos” in Brazil’s airports during the World Cup if

renovation and upgrades don’t get started as soon as possible.

”We will be embarrassed with our airports here in Brazil if the

necessary work doesn’t start quickly,” Romario said. ”To tell you

the truth, I’m trying to stay positive and I’m hoping that it won’t

happen. But we see what happens during long holidays now, and it’s

not going to be different in the World Cup.”

Soccer great Pele previously said that Brazil was risking

embarrassment because of the condition of its airports.

The nation’s airports are struggling to meet the growing demands

brought on by Brazil’s economy, and the government and organizers –

including FIFA – have repeatedly said air transportation will be a

major concern during the World Cup.

The government privatized operations at three of the nation’s

main airports on Monday and it plans to do the same to others in

the near future to try to speed up the needed upgrades.

Improving airports plagued with bottlenecks, long lines and poor

infrastructure was a key promise the government made in its winning

bid to host soccer’s top event.

Romario also said he is concerned with overspending and misuse

of public funds in many of the stadiums that will host matches in

2014 and in the 2013 Confederations Cup.

”I’ve been in the 12 host cities and unfortunately a lot of the

stadiums will be left to be finished just a year or so before the

tournament because then it is categorized as emergency work and

there is no more need for bidding processes. The sky will be the

limit then, you can’t imagine the costs that will appear in the

majority of these stadiums. They will rob without shame.”

Romario didn’t specify whom he was referring to when he used the

term ”rob.”

Last year, after one of his visits to the host cities, Romario

said that he was disappointed with what he saw and that he expected

”problems” to get the country ready for the World Cup and said

that ”things are not going to happen.”

He said the tournament in Brazil is ”not going to be the best

of all time” as he once thought when the nation won the right to

host it in 2007.

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