RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has confirmed that FIFA is preparing emergency plans to stage next year’s Confederations Cup in only four venues because of continuing concerns over preparation delays writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The only four stadia certain to be available are the Joao Havelange stadium in Rio and venues in Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza. Increasing doubts hang over the readiness of Salvador and Recife as well as Maracana in Rio.

The Confederations Cup is an organizational warm-up for the 2014 World Cup finals and is due to be staged between June 15 and 30 next year with the Opening Match in Brasilia and the Final in Rio.

Rebelo said: “It’s true there are three options: with four or five or six venues. From our point of view the aim is to use all six stadia but FIFA has to work with alternatives, to be on the safe side.”

Rebelo denied reports that a critical independent report commissioned by FIFA had suggested Natal, in the north-east of Brazil, was in danger of being dropped from the schedule altogether.

He said: “It’s not true that Natal is on yellow alert. The deadline for completing the work there is December 2013 and it will be met. I’ve been there twice recently and all that’s happened is there is a difference of assessment between FIFA’s consultants and our own. We have every confidence in our own analysis.”

The 83-page report commissioned by FIFA states that work is up to time only in Fortaleza and critises “excessive political bureaucracy” for delays elsewhere.


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