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Pele says Brazil may not be ready to host World Cup 2014

posted 18 Feb 2011, 12:20 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 18 Feb 2011, 12:22 ]

Brazil's soccer legend Pele says he is concerned about delays in works for the South American country's World Cup in 2014.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL (FEBRUARY 18, 2011) REUTERS - Brazilian soccer legend Pele said on Friday (February 18) that he fears Brazil's World Cup in 2014 may be embarrassing.

The 70-year-old told a news conference at a bank in Sao Paulo that he was very concerned about the delays in works for the tournament.

Brazil has already come under fire for being behind on the construction of stadiums and other infrastructure works.

Pele said highlighted his concern over the country's transportation system.

"I think Brazil has a great risk of embarrassing us in its administration of the World Cup, especially in terms of transportation. The airports, as you have seen, is what scares the most. Not only Brazilians (are concerned)… I even spoke to (Michel) Platini's group when he was here and they were also very concerned," he said.

Recent studies pointed that Brazil's airports had capacity for 126 million passengers per year, with existing demand of 111 million that is expected to rise to 146 million by 2014. During the Cup alone, the report said six million additional travelers would be moving through Brazilian airports.

Pele said he was also worried about the stadiums in most of the twelve cities that are set to host games during the month-long tournament.

"Everyone is worried because Brazil has the obligation of doing a good management (of the World Cup). Unfortunately we are already late. There is this controversy in Sao Paulo, which is the foundation of Brazilian soccer and this should have already been defined but it still hasn't and this has really been concerning us," he said.

Sao Paulo state is yet to decide whether it will build a stadium from scratch or if it will refurbish an existing one.

The three-times world champion also commented on the retirement of Brazil's former striker Ronaldo.

Pele complimented Ronaldo, but said that in his place he would have quit playing in 2009, right after winning a championship with Corinthians club in 2009.

"If I were him I would have stopped when his team won the championship one year and a half ago. Another thing I joke about is that I tell him: 'Ronaldo, you won a championship, it had been ten years since you hadn't scored with a head shot and you did despite your height, and even so you didn't quit playing'," he said.

The 34-year-old three-times FIFA World Player of the Year, a twice World Cup winner with Brazil, said injuries and fitness problems prevented him from playing to his best form.