WC stadiums to miss FIFA deadline

At least three World Cup stadiums in Brazil will not be finished

by the end of December as FIFA had requested.

Football’s governing body said on Tuesday the stadiums in Sao

Paulo, Curitiba and Cuiaba will not be ready by the deadline

because of construction delays.

The announcement came after the World Cup organizing committee

received updates from the six host cities that still have to

deliver the venues for next year’s tournament. The other six were

ready for this year’s Confederations Cup.

”Two stadiums will be delivered more in the region of February

than in January or December,” FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke

said. ”Curitiba is the one where we are facing the most problems.

Clearly, Curitiba will not be delivered before the end of February

2014, so that’s a fact.”

The stadium in Cuiaba also is expected to be ready in February,

four months before the World Cup opens on June 12. FIFA said it

still doesn’t know when it will have the venue in Sao Paulo, where

a crane collapse last week killed two workers and damaged part of

the stadium. A report on the scale of the damage is expected by the

end of the week.

”We are in a period of time when the opening game of the World

Cup will be played in Sao Paulo,” Valcke said. ”We are not in a

crisis mood where we are looking for an alternative to Sao Paulo.

We are confident they can deliver the stadium on time (for the

opener.)”

The Sao Paulo venue, which will host the tournament’s opening

match, was almost ready when a giant crane buckled while hoisting a

500-ton metal structure that clipped part of the roof and cut

through a huge LED panel that runs across the venue’s outer

facade.

FIFA said it would not tolerate the same types of delays that

plagued the Confederations Cup, when only two of the six venues

were completed by the original deadline.

While Valcke said FIFA is already rearranging plans for the

installation of temporary facilities at the venues that also will

not be delivered by the deadline, FIFA President Sepp Blatter

downplayed the delays.

”There are some small delays in construction of stadia, but so

small that, with one exception, we can just close our eyes and say

everything will be ready,” Blatter said.

FIFA wants the stadiums ready at least six months in advance

mainly so there is time for at least two test events in each host

city. It says there is no way of moving games because about 1

million tickets have already been sold for next year’s

tournament.