Brazil Six Months Behind on Building a Soccer Ball for the World Cup

2014FIFAWorldCuplogo2-FIFAThe 2014 World Cup is set to begin next month in Brazil, but construction delays have caused a race to the finish as the host nation tries to ready everything for the start of the tournament. 

Stadiums remain unfinished, parking lots unpaved, media and staff buildings are still being constructed and the creation of a soccer ball for the biggest tournament in the sport remains in the early stages.

“We have a general concept for it, it will be spherical,” said Aldo Rebelo, Brazilian Sports Minister. “But, yes, there is still a lot to be done to get it finished in time. But we have every intention of having a suitable ball for them to play with by the first match.”

The construction of a soccer ball has also been marred by corruption. An initial attempt to make a ball in the summer of 2013 cost nearly $300 million U.S. dollars, but all that was produced was a sort of small, oval pillow.

“Putting on an event of this size never goes as smooth as you might like,” said Rebelo, whose brother is the CEO of the pillow manufacturer who got the initial soccer ball contract. “We learned from the first design, and we are moving ahead.”

If the current project is not completed in time for the first matches on June 12, Brazilian officials have an emergency plan in place.

“A local sporting good stores has said they would sell us an already completed ball,” said Rebelo, “and we have budgeted $90 million in case we should need to buy one from them.”

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Also see … 

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SP’s 2014 FIFA World Cup page

SP’s Soccer page