KEIR RADNEDGE in SAO PAULO: Manaus is the only venue now which remains at risk of being cut from the schedule for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

The city at the heart of the Amazon basin owed its selection partly to a wish from the Brazilian government to be seen to spreading the World Cup largesse beyond the industrialised and coastal cities.

Work on the Arena da Amazonia, however, is further behind schedule than in any of the other venues, according to Jerome Valcke, the FIFA secretary-general who is also the world federation’s World Cup progress-chaser.

He told a media roundtable here in Sao Paulo today: “The only one city where they have agreed to try to speed up and work on the different contactors and agreements to be ready on time is Manaus.

“We are a bit concerned . . . because for them to be ready by December 2013 seems to me difficult for them to reach. There is no Plan B here. You can take one stadium off the schedule.

“In December 2013 we will have the draw for the finals which will locate all the teams and all the games so a decision – whatever it is – will have to be taken before then.

“At the finals draw we must have the confirmed number of stadia so the teams will know where and when they go to play. They will start the day after the draw to organise their friendly games, their team base camps, their flights and all these things.

“Already in January 2014 you will see people coming to Brazil from the different countries and staying here to organise their team camps to welcome their teams.

“So it’s better for us to send a warning now [toManaus] then for them to say later that we should have told them before.”

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