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Brazil behind schedule in World Cup stadia race

Two of twelve stadiums ready but opening venue only 60% complete

Rio de Janeiro's Estadio do Maracan? will host the 2016 World Cup Final
Rio de Janeiro's Estadio do Maracan? will host the 2016 World Cup Final

Brazil, hosts of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, is facing a tight race to deliver the 12 stadiums which will be the focal points of next year’s quadrennial global soccer tournament, according to a new report.

Just two of the 12 venues across the country are ready, with the opening venue for the tournament, Arena Corinthians in Sao Paolo, only 60% complete, according to the Bleacher Report.

Six of the venues are required to host this summer’s World Cup rehearsal tournament, the Confederations Cup, and world football’s governing body, FIFA, is getting impatient.

FIFA has twice pushed back the deadlines for the Confederation Cup venues, but general secretary Jerome Valcke has insisted there will be no extensions to the current deadline of April 15th.

This comes after Valcke’s comments last year when he stated that Brazil needed “a kick up the backside” if it was to have the stadiums and required infrastructure ready in time for the tournament.

FIFA insists that all stadiums must be ready by the end of 2013, but several construction projects are running the risk of spilling into 2014, with one of the biggest concerns the jewel in Brazil’s 2014 World Cup crown, the Maracana.

The Rio de Janeiro venue was initially due to open in December 2012 following $456m of renovations, but a roof has yet to be added to the legendary stadium, while a strike has also delayed its completion. The state government of Rio had already warned FIFA that the venue will not be ready until May prior to the industrial action, which would breach Valcke’s April 15th deadline.

If the issues with the workforce continue, a friendly with England in June and the Confederations Cup may need to find alternate venues.

All of the stadiums have either been built from scratch, rebuilt or upgraded at a total cost estimated in December 2012 at $3.5bn (an increase of $1bn on initial estimates).

The Arena Das Dunas in Natal has also suffered as a result of industrial action, with recent images suggesting the pace of construction needs to be picked up significantly.

Concerns also exist over Arena Amazônia in Manaus which is currently only 52% complete, causing Valcke to insist that work will need to accelerate to reach its December 2013 opening target.

According to the BBC, many commentators also believe that much of the infrastructure will not be ready, even if the stadia are. An unnamed city is said to have 17,000 hotel rooms available for a 45,000-seater stadium. New airports are being built, public transport is being upgraded and around $900m is being spent on security ($750m more than was spent in South Africa).

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Mar 21, 2020