Valcke back in Brazil to inspect WCup host cities

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke is back in Brazil to

continue his tour of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup.

Valcke is visiting the jungle city of Manaus on Tuesday and the

western city of Cuiaba on Wednesday. He will end his trip by

participating in a board meeting of the local organizing committee

on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro.

”The visits are very important not only to see the stadiums and

the general infrastructure progress but also to be able to discuss

with the host cities and states representatives our joint mission,

as they are providing the essential playing field for the teams and

their fans,” Valcke said.

The secretary general is expected to visit all 12 host cities by

the end of the year. He visited Recife, Natal and Brasilia in June,

and Salvador and Fortaleza in January.

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo and sports ministry official Luis

Fernandes, members of the local organizing committee, will be

accompanying Valcke in this week’s tour.

In Manaus, they will meet with local government officials and

visit the 44,000-capacity Amazon Arena, which was 42 percent

completed by July, according to organizers. The stadium, which will

host four group-stage matches, is expected to be ready by

mid-2013.

Located in the Amazon rain forest, Manaus will be a major

attraction in two years, and improving local infrastructure for

World Cup visitors is one of the priorities for the local

government. Travel logistics will prove a challenge, too, as the

northwestern city is one of the most isolated among the 12 World

Cup venues.

On Wednesday, Valcke will check on the progress of preparations

in Cuiaba, which also will host four group matches in 2014. The

43,000-capacity Pantanal Arena was 46 percent completed in July,

according to local organizers. It is expected to be ready by the

end of this year.

Cuiaba is located in the geographic center of the South American

continent. It’s also a popular tourist destination because it is

located by the savannahs of the Cerrado, the wetlands of the

Pantanal and the Amazon rain forest.

”This time our journey will take us to two very special places

in Brazil, the Amazon and the gateway to the Pantanal, perfect

examples of the beautiful diversity of the country,” Valcke

said.

In October, Valcke is expected to visit the southern city of

Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro, which will host the World Cup

final at the Maracana Stadium. Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and

Curitiba are expected to be inspected by the end of the year. Sao

Paulo will host the World Cup opener.

Brazil last hosted the World Cup in 1950.

The Maracana also will host the final of next year’s

Confederations Cup, the warm-up tournament featuring matches in

Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Salvador and Fortaleza.

Recife and Salvador still have to show FIFA that it will be able

to host matches in the Confederations Cup. Local officials have

until November to show they can be included.

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