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Monday January 27, 2014 MYT 6:27:02 PM
Monday January 27, 2014 MYT 6:27:11 PM
Brazil's coach Felipe Scolari (L) talks with team coordinator Carlos Alberto Parreira as they played Chile in an international friendly soccer match in Belo Horizonte, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Washington Alves
(Reuters) - Brazil's stuttering preparations to host the 2014 football World Cup have been described as neglectful and a wasted opportunity by the national team's technical director Carlos Alberto Parreira.
Parreira, Brazil's World Cup winning coach in 1994, is the first member of the team to have made such an outspoken criticism of the organisation of the tournament.
"I know there are lots of public works that are only going to be ready in 2018 or 2020, or in time for the Olympic Games, but we wanted everything ready for the World Cup.... There is total neglect," he told CBN radio in an interview.
"We have missed the chance to show the world a different Brazil."
Brazil's preparations have been plagued by delays in building stadiums and improving airports, while many public transport and other infrastructure projects have been shelved altogether.
Parreira said the first difficulty visiting supporters would face would be in getting from the airport to the stadium in the 12 venue cities.
"The World Cup is not just about stadiums, the supporters don't live in the stadiums, they have to get from the airport to the stadium," he said.
"In Paris or London you choose, you can take the metro, you can take the train, the bus, taxi or you can drive yourself.
"Here there is no choice... just those taxis that hopefully they are going to change.
"I've never found a city that is more attractive than Rio de Janeiro but it could offer us so much more in terms of safety, a much better quality of life... and the traffic wears you out."
Parreira, who has coached the national teams of Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and South Africa at the World Cup, added that he sympathised with the demonstrations which took place in various Brazilian cities during last year's Confederations Cup.
"A lot of things are wrong in a lot of areas, the economy is going down the drain, the country has stopped growing and unemployment is going up," he added.
"There is no assistance for our citizens in terms of health, education and security. Everybody is disgusted with this, our citizens have been given a back seat.
"We can see the quality of life people enjoy in other countries and the help they get from public authorities, so in this sense these demonstrations are valid as long as they don't turn violent.
"The demonstrations are valid, appropriate and well-timed, they represent the desire of the Brazilian citizens to have a better quality of life."
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)
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