Valcke praises work in WCup host city of Manaus
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke continued his tour of the
host cities for the 2014 World Cup on Tuesday, praising the work
done in the jungle city of Manaus.
Valcke met with local government officials and visited the
44,000-capacity Amazon Arena, which will host four group-stage
matches in the World Cup. The stadium is 44 percent completed and
is expected to be ready by mid-2013.
”We are leaving certain that if the work continues at this pace
we won’t have to worry about not having the project completed in
time,” Valcke said. ”When Brazil was chosen as host it seemed
obvious that Manaus would become a host city. It would be hard to
imagine a World Cup without the Amazon involved. The Amazon belongs
to the world and the world needs the Amazon.”
Located at the heart of the 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 as the
northwestern city is one of the most isolated among the 12 World
”The government doing is everything needed to make sure all
FIFA requirements are fulfilled,” said Amazonas state vice
governor Jose Melo.
Valcke will visit the western city of Cuiaba on Wednesday and
end his trip by participating in a board meeting of the local
organizing committee on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro.
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.
He said the visits are important to allow FIFA to see the
progress on the stadiums and the general infrastructure, and to
continue to evaluate and discuss the preparation plans with local
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo and sports ministry official Luis
Fernandes and members of the local organizing committee are
accompanying Valcke on this week’s tour.
Cuiaba will also 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.
The city is located in the geographic center of the South
American continent, exactly in between the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans. 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
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 will also host the final of next year’s
Confederations Cup, the warm-up tournament which will also have
matches in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Salvador and
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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