Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 8 June 2014:   Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, today praised Belo Horizonte as a city with ‘quality’ that will provide a ‘warm welcome’ for the many tourists that will visit during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The young and dynamic capital of Minas Gerais, the country’s fastest growing state, will host six matches, including a semi-final, during the tournament that starts this week.

Speaking at the opening of Belo Horizonte City Hall’s new Operations Centre, President Rousseff also commented positively on the legacy that the 2014 FIFA World Cup will leave for local residents of Belo Horizonte as they prepare biggest moment in the city’s history.

President Rousseff, said:

“I am impressed with the Operations Centre that Mayor Marcio Lacerda is delivering today for the city. It is an installation on par with the growth that the city presents today and in the future. The public mobility improvements that Belo Horizonte undertook, with the support of the Federal Government, are essential for many cities in Brazil.

“I believe that Belo Horizonte is going to attract many tourists during the World Cup because of the quality of the city. These works delivered by Mayor Marcio Lacerda are not for the tourists to take home in their suitcase as they will remain here for the benefit of the city’s population. However, what I know that tourists will take home with them in their heart is the warm welcome that the people of Minas Gerais and Belo Horizonte are capable of extending to people.”

The new Operations Centre, opened by President Rousseff, marks the final delivery of the works the city of Belo Horizonte has undergone ahead of the tournament. The centre will ensure increased efficiency in the oversight of the city by government authorities and will oversee public transport operations, accident response units and urban sanitation projects, helping to deliver a smooth experience for visiting fans during the tournament while also delivering tangible benefits for the citizens of Belo Horizonte.

Located within an hour’s flight from Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia, Belo Horizonte is ideally positioned for fans who wish to follow their teams around the country. The Mineirão Stadium, the city’s 62,500 capacity FIFA World Cup venue, was completed well in advance of the 2013 Confederations Cup and has since held many international and domestic matches and large scale music events.

Speaking about President Rouseff’s comments and the final days of preparation, The Mayor of Belo Horizonte, Marcio Lacerda, said:

“We thank President Rousseff for her positive comments about our city. The opening of our new Operations Centre marks the final delivery of our works and we are ready to welcome the world to Belo Horizonte for what will be a tremendous celebration for our people and the fans that will travel to the city. We look forward to the forthcoming four weeks and witnessing some world-class football played in the Mineirão stadium.”

“We have invested R$1.5 billion into our city’s infrastructure to ensure that we deliver a fantastic World Cup experience for the football fans and looking beyond the tournament, we will work very hard to ensure that we also deliver a long-lasting legacy for the people of Belo Horizonte.”