INTRODUCTION: New stadiums, hotels and colour television centres are under construction in Argentina as the country prepares to host the 1978 world cup football championship in eighteen months time.
INTRODUCTION: New stadiums, hotels and colour television centres are under construction in Argentina as the country prepares to host the 1978 world cup football championship in eighteen months time. Argentina's ability to stage the contest has become a matter of national pride, particularly for the military government which took power in a coup last March.
SYNOPSIS: Argentina has no national football ground, and the focus of the competition will be the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, the capital, where the final will be played. The stadium is under re-construction to increase its capacity from 60,000 to 80,000 with facilities for 600 journalists.
In Mendoza, western Argentina, construction work on a new stadium has reached the half-way stage, while in Cordoba another World Cup pitch has already been laid at the local stadium. Improvements are also being made to the ground at Rosario, and another is being built at Mar del Plata - the seaside resort 250 miles (420 kilometres) from the capital.
Also under construction -- a new colour television centre in Buenos Aires to serve foreign correspondents. A state-run company, Argentina '78 Televisora, has been established to co-ordinate colour television coverage to the outside world - although Argentines will have to watch the games in black and white. Another task facing the country is to make more than 350,000 hotel beds available for the finals.
But the aspect of the organisation which has been causing most concern is the country's ability to ensure that matches are played in a peaceful atmosphere. For the past year Argentina has been the most turbulent country in Latin America, in its battle against left-wing guerrillas.