Sport World Cup

Sunday 31 July 2016

Special soap, bananas and silent air-conditioning - Brazilian hoteliers surprised by World Cup teams' extravagant demands

If you thought footballers were overpaid and cossetted, here are some new absurdities

Janet Tappin Coelho

Published 11/05/2014 | 09:30

Footie Fiesta: Graffiti in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo: Reuters)
Footie Fiesta: Graffiti in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo: Reuters)

Hollywood A-listers, pop stars and royalty may make lofty demands of hotels, but some of the 32 national teams taking part in this summer's Fifa World Cup in Brazil list some curious requirements that have surprised even the most grizzled hotelier.

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The Algerians want the Koran by their bedside, the Uruguayans have insisted on silent air-conditioning, to ensure their players have a "peaceful and quiet environment", and Ecuador want daily deliveries of their local banana varieties. Nothing is too much in the cossetted world of international football.

With just over a month to go before their 736 distinguished guests land in Brazil, the hotels in 27 cities across nine states are experiencing an intense flurry of activity as they apply the final touches to some costly preparations. While many stadiums have reportedly been poorly finished, the competitors are leaving nothing to chance, and all the teams have stepped up their security.

The French football federation has reserved all the rooms in the JP Hotel in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, and insisted every player's room is identical, down to the colour of the paint.

"They asked us to buy two types of liquid soap, one for showering and the other to wash their hands," said Luciana Marotta Guimarães, JP Hotel's general manager.

Attention to detail is something that Fifa, football's world governing body, has asked fans to adhere to as well. Its secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, admitted on Friday that fans will face the greatest difficulties over accommodation and transport.

"The biggest challenge will be for them," Mr Valcke said. "It will not be for the media, it will not be for the teams, it will not be for the officials, it will be for the fans. My message would be, just make sure you are organised when you go to Brazil."

The Germans have made by far the most extravagant preparations. The delegation has built its own training facility in the scenic village of Santo André in Bahia, and the headquarters for coach Joachim Low's team is a gated community with 13 houses, 65 rooms, a football field and press centre.

Roy Hodgson's England squad has emerged as one of the countries with the fewest demands. "They've only asked us to set aside one of our three restaurants for their exclusive use, give the footballers a dedicated video games room with three TVs and the latest games, and they want the sole use of the gym and swimming pool for just several hours every day," said George Durante, general manager of the Royal Tulip Hotel in Rio.

Two floors of 64 rooms have been reserved for the England squad and technical staff in the São Conrado-based hotel. "We've gutted all their rooms and we're installing brand new furniture, beds, wooden floors, rust-free balconies and air conditioning," revealed Mr Durante. "We've spent more than £2m."

Ibrahim Lança, of the Hotel Ilha do Boi in Vitória, Espirito Santos, where Australia will stay, said: "They want Brazilian meals of red meat, fish and chicken, but all cooked within the concept of a healthy diet. We've also been asked to install coffee machines for four players."

But Bosnia favour isolation. "They've asked us to install an acoustic [sound-proofed] screen," said Lourival Pierim of Casa Grande Hotel Resort & Spa in Guaruja, São Paulo. "The players will dine on one side and coaching staff on the other. Their chatter will not be mixed."

A woman watches a protest against the 2014 World Cup, organized by non-governmental organization (NGO) Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro. The protest was held to demand an improvement in public services to FIFA standards. Reuters/Sergio Moraes
A woman watches a protest against the 2014 World Cup, organized by non-governmental organization (NGO) Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro. The protest was held to demand an improvement in public services to FIFA standards. Reuters/Sergio Moraes
A man stands in front of his house at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro. Reuters/Sergio Moraes
Residents simulate bad service at a public hospital during a protest against the 2014 World Cup, organized by non-governmental organization (NGO) Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro. Reuters/Sergio Moraes
The protest was held to raise awareness and to improve public services to FIFA standards, according to the organization. Reuters/Sergio Moraes
A girl looks out a window in Borel slum in Rio de Janeiro, one of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Reuters/Ricardo Moraes
A man talks on a public telephone booth painted by Brazilian artist Juarez Fagundes during the Call Parade art exhibition in Sao Paulo. The Call Parade is an exhibition involving artists who decorated and painted public telephone booths with the colours of Brazil's national soccer team for the World Cup. Reuters/Nacho Doce
The Arena de Sao Paulo Stadium. The stadium will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup. Reuters/Paulo Whitaker
Children play in Borel slum in Rio de Janeiro. Reuters/Ricardo Moraes
Brazilian soccer legend Pele waves next to a public telephone booth with an image of his face painted by Brazilian artist Sipros after he autographed it, during the Call Parade art exhibition. Reuters/Nacho Doce
The Call Parade is a street art exhibition involving artists who decorated and painted public telephone booths with the colours of Brazil's national soccer team for the World Cup. Reuters/Nacho Doce
A man rides his motorcycle along a street decorated in celebration of the upcoming World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. Reuters/Ricardo Moraes
A man rides his bike through Rio de Janeiro. Reuters/Ricardo Moraes
Kids of Nova Geracao (New Generation) soccer team change their clothes after losing a soccer match against Futebol Clube Borel (Soccer Club Borel) during a local tournament at the Borel slum in Rio de Janeiro. Reuters/Pilar Olivares
Brazilian soccer fan Jarbas Carlini, who makes replicas of the FIFA World Cup trophy, poses for picture at his home in Rio de Janeiro. Carlini, a mechanical technician, has been making replicas of the trophy since 1994, after Brazil won their fourth World Cup title. Reuters/Sergio Moraes
A man walks past by a sand sculpture placed on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. Reuters/Pilar Olivares
A woman walks past a home decorated with a mural depicting a Brazilian soccer player as the Hulk flying over Argentina's Lionel Messi, right, and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil will host this year's World Cup soccer tournament. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
A boy of Nova Geracao (New Generation) soccer team kicks a penalty against Futebol Clube Borel (Soccer Club Borel) during a local tournament at the Borel slum in Rio de Janeiro. Reuters/Pilar Olivares
Rio de Janeiro is one of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Reuters/Ricardo Moraes
A mural of a Brazilian soccer fan holding up the World Cup trophy decorates a home where a woman closes her door in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil will host this year's international soccer tournament. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
A policeman stands next to a burned car near Complexo do Alemao in Rio de Janeiro. According to local media, cars in front of the Peacekeeping Program Command (CPP) were burned a day after the death of local resident Arlinda Bezerra das Chagas, 72, who died during a shootout between drug dealers and officers from Brazil's Police Peacekeeping Unit (UPP). Reuters/Ricardo Moraes
Policemen patrol near Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. Rio government has increased the presence of Police Peacekeeping Unit (UPP) in the streets of the city and the slums of Alemao complex, in the north zone of Rio, and the Rocinha slum, in the south zone, after the unrest of pass weeks, according to local media. Reuters/Sergio Moraes
Brazilian flags hang on a building atop a street in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes
The statue of Christ the Redeemer is seen with a slum below in Rio de Janeiro. The 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil from June 12 through July 13. Reuters/Pilar Olivares
A view of the Sugar Loaf mountain, as the sun rises in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Reuters/Sergio Moraes
Construction of the Arena de Sao Paulo Stadium, one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup, in Sao Paulo. The stadium will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup. Reuters/Paulo Whitaker
The Arena de Sao Paulo Stadium. Reuters/Paulo Whitaker

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