Belo Horizonte, Brazil; 17th October: Yesterday Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary General, visited Belo Horizonte during his FIFA World Cup Host City tour and praised the city’s preparations ahead of FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and 2014 FIFA World Cup™. During the visit, Valcke commended the advanced stage of the Mineirão stadium’s construction works and reaffirmed the delivery date of the stadium as 21st December 2012.

Speaking from Belo Horizonte, Valcke commented, “It’s great to see a stadium that is nearly ready and that is the message that I want to send out to the other venues. Belo Horizonte is a fine example of integration and hard work, and the strong partnership between the state and the local City Hall. They are already started to lay the pitch for the players, and if Brazil finish top of their group, they could play two games in Belo Horizonte. The Mineirão stadium is very important to FIFA, as the eyes of the world are going to be on it during these major sporting events.” Valcke was accompanied by Brazil’s Minister of Sport, Aldo Rebelo, the Operations Director of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Ricardo Trade, the Governor of the State of Minas Gerais, Antonio Anastasia and the Mayor of Belo Horizonte, Márcio Lacerda.

The delegation entered the Mineirão stadium through the same entrance that will be used by the players during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and 2014 FIFA World Cup™. Cheered on by the World Cup’s official mascot, the party took part in the symbolic planting of the first bud of the stadium’s pitch. Valcke also had a meeting at Belo Horizonte’s Pampulha Airport, where local authorities presented the status on current projects for the city. Belo Horizonte has eight urban mobility projects including the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which will be ready for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. During the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013, there will be lanes between the city centre and the Mineirão stadium which will be exclusively used by cars and buses.

Brazil’s Minister of Sport, Aldo Rebelo also stated, “Visiting Belo Horizonte always provides a moment of confidence and optimism related to Brazil’s capability of staging the World Cup, and meeting everyone’s expectations. Belo Horizonte is home to two of Brazil’s biggest football clubs and boasts one of the most beautiful and modern stadiums in the country. Minas Gerais is well ahead in terms of preparations with its urban mobility projects, and it’s always a delight to visit this state.”