RIO DE JANEIRO: A clock designed by the late star architect Oscar Niemeyer to mark the one-year countdown to next year’s World Cup was unveiled on Rio’s famed Copacabana beach Wednesday in the presence of soccer legend Pele.
The device, made by Hublot, the official timekeeper for the 2014 mega-event, displayed the time remaining until Brazil gets to stage its first World Cup since 1950 when it lost the final to Uruguay.
Joining Pele, a three-time winner of the Cup with the national squad, at the ceremony were Brazilian Sports Minister Also Rebelo, Jerome Valcke, the secretary general of world football’s governing body FIFA, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and Hublot President Jean-Claude Biver.
Jose Maria Marin, chairman of the Cup’s Local Organzing Committee, hailed the unveiling as “another memorable milestone in our preparations for Brazil 2014.”
Current FIFA president Sepp Blatter could not attend but sent a message saying he was “extremely pleased”.
Brazil “is not only a footballing powerhouse, but an economic one too. I’m sure that one of the legacies of this FIFA World Cup will be that of helping Brazil become a leader in terms of social and cultural values,” he added.
The clock unveiling came three days before the start of the Confederations Cup, a two-week tournament to be contested by eight countries — Brazil, Spain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Tahiti and Uruguay — in a dry run for next year’s World Cup.
Brazil will face Japan in the opening game in Brasilia Saturday.
The clock’s features were designed by Niemeyer, a Brazilian icon who passed away last year at the age of 104.