At its meeting in Costa do Sauipe/Bahia earlier today, the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup approved the procedures for the Final Draw, which will be held in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia on 6 December 2013 (13.00 local Bahia time/17.00 CET) and will be broadcast live on free-to-air-channels in no fewer than 193 countries. As already announced, the seeded teams have been selected on the basis of the October 2013 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, namely hosts Brazil (A1), together with Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Switzerland, and Uruguay. Pot 2 contains Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, and Ecuador. In Pot 3 are Australia, Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, and the USA, and in Pot 4: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Russia. The detailed draw procedures can be found here.
Blind and visually impaired fans will also be able to enjoy a special live-match experience at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Thanks to a brand new commentary system which broadcasts via radio frequency and can be picked up on any personal radio headsets, blind and partially sighted fans will be able to sit anywhere in the stadium. This service, which is part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy, will enable many more disabled supporters to enjoy the tournament and also create a legacy that will have a lasting impact long after the final whistle has been blown. The service will be available in Portuguese in Belo Horizonte (Estádio Mineirão), Brasília (Estádio Nacional), Rio de Janeiro (Estádio do Maracanã), and São Paulo (Arena Corinthians).
To deliver this project, FIFA and the LOC are working together with the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) and Urece Sports and Culture, a Brazilian organisation working with partially sighted and blind people. It will be the first time that such a service has been provided in Brazilian football. After the competition, the equipment will be donated to local entities that wish to be part of the legacy project. For more details, please click here.
The committee was also provided with a detailed update on the preparations for the World Cup. It was explained that during the Board Meeting of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) on 2 December 2013, the technical teams of FIFA and the LOC had presented the latest stadium assessment, reporting that four of the six stadiums yet to be completed for football's flagship event were currently preparing to stage their first events in January 2014. Cuiabá, Manaus, Natal and Porto Alegre are currently finalising their event schedules.
In the case of Curitiba, the technical teams reported that the stadium could be inaugurated in January, with the first match planned for late February or early March. In regard to the Arena Corinthians, it is too early to provide a concrete assessment as the technical report and the investigation into the recent accident by local authorities have not yet been completed.
Due to the reduced timeline, FIFA, the LOC, government and stadium authorities are adjusting the stadium operational programme to ensure that the stadiums are delivered and host events prior to the FIFA World Cup without compromising on safety or quality.