FIFA concerned with problems at Sao Paulo stadium

FIFA again expressed its concern with Brazil’s preparations for

the 2014 World Cup after local organizers said Tuesday they are

facing challenges to meet the deadline for the stadium which will

host the tournament’s opening game in Sao Paulo.

A day after one of the engineers in charge of the stadium’s

construction said the venue is not expected to be fully ready by

December as FIFA wants, local organizers said they are ”looking

for solutions” to speed up construction and finish the work on

time.

FIFA has stated clearly that it will not tolerate delays with

any of the 12 World Cup stadiums. Only two of the six

Confederations Cup venues were completed on time. The home of the

June 15 opener in Brasilia is yet to be completed.

”The technical teams of FIFA and the local organizing committee

have reinforced the tight monitoring on all remaining six FIFA

World Cup stadiums not only limited to Sao Paulo,” football’s

governing body said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on

Tuesday. ”FIFA is for sure concerned as it is vital that the firm

deadline of December 2013 will be kept.”

The main concern in Sao Paulo is the temporary seats which will

have to be added to increase the stadium’s capacity for the opener

in 2014. Twenty thousand seats will be added after the stadium’s

main structure is ready, improving the capacity to nearly 70,000.

The stadium will host six World Cup matches, including the opener

and one of the semifinals.

The construction company building the stadium, Odebrecht, has

told the AP that it will finish the main structure with 48,000

seats by the December deadline, but chief engineer Frederico

Barbosa told the UOL website on Monday that it will likely take

more time to add the temporary structures, which could be ready

only by February or March.

”The host cities, the federal government and stadium owners

have committed to this delivery date and acknowledged that for the

FIFA World Cup no comprises can be made on this not to jeopardize

the successful staging of football’s flagship event,” FIFA said.

”Something which is not only crucial for FIFA but for the entire

host nation.”

Sao Paulo officials are the ones responsible for the addition of

the temporary seats.

”The local organizing committee knows of the challenges that

the host city of Sao Paulo is facing to install the temporary seats

in the stadium,” the committee said in a statement. ”However, the

committee has been informed that the city is looking for solutions

to accelerate the timetable for the installation so it can deliver

the stadium and all the temporary structures by December this year,

which is the deadline agreed upon in contract by all six host

cities of the Confederations Cup in 2007.”

FIFA wants stadiums ready at least six months before tournaments

such as the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. This time it had

to make an exception ahead of the warm-up tournament because of the

series of delays in Brazil.

Only the venues in Fortaleza and Belo Horizonte were ready be

last December, and two others also missed the April 15 extension

deadline that local organizers had set. The stadium of the

Confederations Cup opener in Brasilia will only be delivered on May

18.

FIFA and the local organizing committee said last month that

”delays like the ones observed will not be tolerated for the

stadiums that will host” World Cup matches. It said ”the

flexibility observed in the deadlines for the FIFA Confederations

Cup will not be the same for the FIFA World Cup, when no exception

will be made.”

Football’s governing body said Tuesday that more than 588,000

tickets have already been sold for the Confederations Cup,

including nearly 58,000 for the opener between Brazil and Japan on

June 15.

The most sought-after match so far match is Mexico vs. Italy in

Rio de Janeiro, with more than 63,000 tickets sold. Almost 61,000

tickets have been bought for the final at the new Maracana Stadium

on June 30. Only about 10,000 have been sold for the match between

newcomer Tahiti and African Cup champion Nigeria in Belo

Horizonte.

The Confederations Cup is played among continental champions

plus the host nation and the World Cup champion.

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