Fifa criticized by Brazilian government over telecom blunders

Information to support staging of the Confederations Cup came too late

The Brazilian government criticized Fifa over delays in information required to carry out telecommunications work for the Confederations Cup , at a meeting intended to take stock of the competition this week.

Secretary Cezar Alvarez, second in command at the Ministry of Communications, told reporters at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro today that information around key locations - such as ticket exchange and training venues, where telecoms infrastructure needed to be in place - was not delivered in advance, which caused difficulties to technical teams.

"The time that Fifa took to send us some informations may have jeopardized our work," Alvarez said, adding that these complaints have already been sent over to the football association.

Maracanã stadium at the Brazil vs. England game (Credit: Mark Hillary under Creative Commons)

The Communications secretary added that the government will put pressure on Fifa to ensure that the main locations for the World Cup, such as training venues, are defined as soon as possible. However, Alvarez was keen to highlight that the government is not responsible for the provision of telecom services at the venues - but the Ministry of Communications can negotiate improvements in the set-up with the providers of information on the expected demand is provided in advance.

But the Brazilian hosts are also at fault. Alvarez mentioned that the telecoms infrastructure for the stadiums was also the last item on the list, so companies had a lot less time to prepare and implement items such as mobile phone networks in the areas surrounding the venues where the competition is taking place. This was exacerbated by the delay in the construction and renovation work at locations such as the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

The president of state-run telco Telebrás, Caio Bonilha, made the point that the construction work around the stadiums also compromised the integrity of the telecoms network that had only been installed months before. In Recife, for example, telecoms work had to be re-done, as gardeners managed to disrupt the cabling on 11 different places. He added that partners need to get better at sharing information to avoid that kind of issue in the World Cup.

Despite all the complaints of misinformation and the current wave of anti-government protests in Brazil, Fifa was positive about the Confederations Cup. According to the secretary, the transmission infrastructure for the games has worked "very well" so far.