RIO DE JANEIRO: Concern over World Cup in infrastructure delays has switched from Manaus to Sao Paulo and now to Curitiba writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke expressed his and the world federation’s concern after visiting the site of the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba.
He indicated that he could not give a 100pc guarantee the staging there of the scheduled four group matches: Iran v Nigeria, Honduras v Ecuador, Australia v Spain and Algeria v Russia.
His warning came ahead of a summit of concern in Zurich tomorrow between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and FIFA leader Sepp Blatter.
Valcke said: “The question is delicate, let’s be honest. We do not like the present state of affairs in this stadium. Not only is it very late but it is at risk of missing the last possible delivery deadline schedule for use in the World Cup.
“But we have to be positive and look for solutions.”
Valcke, who had initially insisted that last December 31 was the last possible deadline for all the stadia, said the local organiser had one more month to pull preparations back in course.
He said: “On February 18 delegations from all the competing nations will meet in Florianopolis to learn about the organisation of the World Cup. Officials will visit all the cities where they will play, and it is essential to know what will happen..
“The local organising committee, FIFA and the city of Curitba will then have to decide if the city is ready to host the World Cup or not.”
Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes has announced three emergency measures to try to accelerate work.
Fernandes said: “At the present pace of construction, the stadium will not present the quality and essentials for the World Cup. So we have decided to take emergency measures.
“Firstly, we will create a special management committee involving the Atletico-PR club, local and state government to increase the speed of work.”
Other action concerns finances and the number of workers.
Fernandes said: “We have to intensify work on the stadium, which implies increasing the number of workers involved in the work and instituting a third work shift. This also means ensuring the necessary finances.
“Further funds are have been made available from local budgets and the new committee will also have the power to authorise extra spending.”
The project was initially costed at $185m and has already topped $265m.