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  • Soccerex Roundup - Ronaldo Set to Replace Teixeira as Brazil 2014 President


    Teixeira and Ronaldo in happier times, at an awards event in Sao Paulo in February. (Getty Images)
    (ATR) One day after Brazil's new sports minister Aldo Rebelo’s pledge at the opening ceremony of Soccerex that his country will put on a "great World Cup" come 2014, it's emerged that chief organizer Ricardo Teixeira will be replaced by former football star Ronaldo.

    According to leading Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Teixeira, who is set to be named in papers released by FIFA about the ISL corruption scandal next month, will present Ronaldo on Thursday as the new president of the organizing committee at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro.

    Teixeira’s resignation is another setback for Brazil's preparation for the World Cup after losing sports minister Orlando Silva last month. The latter resigned after being embroiled in his own corruption scandal. Silva was succeeded by Rebelo.

    Ronaldo, a World Cup winner in 1994 and 2002 and three-time World Player of the Year, had a glittering career.

    Among the clubs he played for in Europe were Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan. In Brazil, he starred for Cruzeiro and Corinthians.

    Zagallo Honored

    On the second day of Soccerex, Mário Zagallo, former player and coach of the Brazilian team, was honored for his achievements in football.
    Zagallo receives the legacy award from João Havalange; Paulo Cézar Caju is holding the award. (ATR)

    In the presence of legends such as former Portuguese star Eusebio and Paulo Cézar Caju, another Brazilian great, he received the João Havalange Legacy Award from the former FIFA president himself.

    Zagallo is the only person in the world to have won four World Cups, two as a player and two as a coach (in 1994 as assistant-coach).

    Responding to press inquiries, Zagallo showed concern about the progress of the Brazilian team with an eye on the World Cup in 2014.

    After calling up 82 players, Brazilian coach Mano Menezes is still a long way from establishing a good side.

    "I can’t talk about the squad because there still isn’t any," Zagallo said. "Only Germany, Spain and Holland have established teams and are ready for 2014.”

    Bernstein Promotes Manchester

    During a session about infrastructure and sustainability, Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, highlighted the achievements of his city as organizer of the 2002 Commonwealth Games whose centerpiece was Manchester City's current Etihad Stadium.

    To be successful means to build venues that bring a return on investment to the organizing city, Bernstein stressed.

    Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, spoke about how the 2002 Commonwealth Games have boosted Man City's development plans. (ATR)
    many cities failed to do that, he added, mentioning among others Athens, host of the 2004 Olympics.

    Thanks to good planning and public spending, he said the Games had been able to breathe new life into east Manchester, a part of the city that had been neglected for a long time.

    Manchester City has played a key role in the regeneration of the area, which is being driven by billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour's grand plans for the club.

    The English Premier League leaders recently submitted a planning application for a proposed youth development and first team academy in east Manchester.

    Built on an 80-acre brown field site opposite Etihad Stadium, it would include a home for up to 400 young players to train and study alongside senior players. The center would provide one half-size and 11 full-size youth development pitches.

    Football Stadia Boost for Communities

    With all the attention focused on the legacy of events such as the World Cup for its 12 host cities, Christopher Lee, senior principal of global design practice Populous, pleaded for a different approach.

    He told delegates in Rio that investing in football clubs can make a huge difference for cities and their communities.

    Lee cited the success of Arsenal's move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium as an example. Apart from a new stadium, around 3,500 new houses were build in the Islington neighbourhood. "Careful planning and investment can lead to regeneration. The new stadium left a great legacy," claimed Lee.

    Written and reported in Rio de Janeiro by Philip de Wit.

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