KEIR RADNEDGE in COSTA DO SAUIPE: The imminence of Friday’s World Cup draw means that Brazil is able to thumb its organisational nose at FIFA’s insistence that all 12 stadia must be delivered by December 31.
Jerome Valcke, the world federation’s secretry-genera who is World Cup progress-chaser-in-chief, had warned all along that the venues across the length and breadth of the semi-continent had to be ready by the end of the year because of the amount of tournament-specific furnishing.
He has now conceded that this battle had been lost but there was nothing, so late in the day, that FIFA can do about it.
Corners have been cut over solar power for the venue in MAnaus while the arenas at Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Cuiaba will not be ready by the end of the year. Indeed, Valcke indicated that Curitiba and Cuiaba were not expected to be ready until February, just four months before the World Cup kicks off.
A date has still to be set for the Itaquera in Sao Paulo after damage caused when a crane lifting a roof section collapsed last week with the death of two construction workers.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Tuesday that Sao Paulo “will be ready” and added: “We have just received a report. There are some small delays in construction of stadia. But so small that with one exception [Sao Paulo] we can say everything is ready.”
However Valcke indicated that Curitiba, the most-delayed vene, would not be ready until the end of February.
He said: “Curitiba is the one where we are facing the most problems and won’t be delivered before the end of February 2014. We will be ready to get the stadium by the end of February 2014.”