Maracana gets facelift for 2014 World Cup

Brazil will spend $280 million to renovate Maracana Stadium,

closing the historic venue next year to spruce up the centerpiece

of the 2014 World Cup.

Opened for the 1950 World Cup, Maracana is expected to be

reopened in December 2012, government officials said on Thursday.

The facade will remain, although a roof will be added to the

five-story structure.

Originally built to hold 200,000, the present capacity will

be reduced from 87,000 to 82,000 at the recommendation of FIFA, the

world governing body of football.

“Yes, it will hold fewer people, but with better quality,”

Marcia Lins, the tourism secretary for Rio de Janeiro state, said

on Thursday.

Work on the stadium will begin in March, and it will be

closed altogether in August in a project that could take two years

to complete.

The renovation will include upgraded changing rooms, a

remodeled area for the media, new seats, toilets and restaurants.

The parking area will also be expanded.

Lins said the renovation would also include the regeneration

of the northern area of the city.