BRASILIA: Maracana is back at the top of FIFA’s worry list for this year’s Confederations Cup after both work and site visit were halted by flooding and the delivery date was put back beyond the ‘final’ deadline.

Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general and World Cup progress-chaser, swung through Brazilagain this week. He visited Recife and reassured Belo Horizonte after opening-day problems with the Estadio Minerao.

However Maracana, as he said, “is the one which is causing FIFA the most concern.” He added: “The date of completion is very important so we can test them before the start. May is too late and that could cause a lot of trouble for FIFA, for the World Cup and for Brazil.”

The Maracana, built for the 1950 World Cup and remodelled several times since, was due for completion in December but the deadline to complete the$457m redevelopment was put back to February and then April.

Rio governor Sergio Cabral has now set April 27 for delivery which is 12 days after the ‘last possible date’ set previously by FIFA.

The stadium, which hosted the 1950 World Cup final and will stage the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics, is due to re-open officially with a friendly between Brazil and England on June 2.

The rebuilt Minerao stadium reopened with a Belo Horizonte derby between Cruzeiro and Atletico Mineiro on February 3 but the event was marred by crowd process problems, jams in the car parks and a water shortage.

The owning Minas Gerais state government fined the firm responsible for the work.

The four Confed Cup stadia in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Salvador are all due to handed over to FIFA in May, 15 working days before the June tournament and five months behind schedule.


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