World Cup Sponsor Itau Criticizes Brazil’s PreparationsTariq Panja and Francisco Marcelino
One of the biggest Brazilian financial sponsors of the World Cup said the country botched preparations to host the most-watched sporting event.
“We haven’t done a great job,” Roberto Setubal, the chief executive officer of Itau Unibanco Holding SA, said in an interview today with Bloomberg LP Chief Executive Officer Dan Doctoroff in Sao Paulo. “The organization of the World Cup is far from being perfect. Brazil is much better than that.”
Delays and cost overruns have plagued efforts to improve infrastructure and build new stadiums for soccer’s world championships. Jerome Valcke, the general secretary of ruling body FIFA and the point person for the World Cup, said earlier this month his organization had “been through hell” trying to arrange the event in Brazil.
Itau, Brazil’s biggest bank by market value, is one of eight national sponsors for the World Cup, a monthlong competition that begins June 12. FIFA relies on its relationships with companies including Coca-Cola Co. and Adidas AG for the second-largest segment of its income after money raised from broadcasters. Last year, sponsorships brought in $404 million.
Yesterday, FIFA demanded that the Sao Paulo stadium set to host the opening match between Brazil and Croatia hold another test match after the one held last weekend didn’t meet standards. The Corinthians Arena has become a symbol for the World Cup’s problems. Three workers died during construction, which still isn’t complete 21 days before the opener. Several fans were drenched during a rain storm there at the inaugurating game because of unfinished work on the roof.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has promised the “cup of cups” as the home nation goes for a record-extending sixth win. The last time Brazil hosted the competition, in 1950, it lost the final game to Uruguay, an event viewed as a national tragedy.