Valcke: Stadium construction on schedule in Brazil

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said Thursday he is

satisfied with stadium construction in Brazil ahead of next year’s

Confederation Cup and the 2014 World Cup.

After a three-day trip to inspect the host cities and discuss

the country’s preparations with local officials and organizers,

Valcke said work in Brazil is on schedule.

”Our greatest source of satisfaction is that we are getting

closer and closer,” Valcke said after a board meeting of the local

organizing committee in Rio de Janeiro. ”We’ve just completed

another satisfactory visit, this time to Cuiaba and Manaus, and we

are convinced that the work is right on track.”

Valcke visited the jungle city of Manaus on Tuesday and the

western city of Cuiaba on Wednesday.

The secretary general noted there was reason for some concern in

Recife, which has to be ready to host Confederations Cup matches in

2013, but he said FIFA will continue to closely monitor

construction work in the northeastern city, which has until

November to show that it can pull it off.

Salvador also has the November deadline to show it will be ready

for the Confederations Cup, the warm-up tournament which will also

be played in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Recife and Fortaleza.

It was the third inspection visit by Valcke, who was in Recife,

Natal and Brasilia in June, and in Salvador and Fortaleza in

January. He will visit all 12 host cities by the end of the

year.

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

Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro, which will host the final of the

Confederations Cup and of the World Cup at the Maracana Stadium.

Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Curitiba will be next. Sao Paulo will

host the World Cup opener and the Confederations Cup draw in

December.

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo and sports ministry official Luis

Fernandes accompanied Valcke during this week’s tour.

”With each meeting we’re working more and more closely in our

preparations for the FIFA World Cup, which is absolutely essential

to the success of both the World Cup itself and the FIFA

Confederations Cup,” Fernandes said.

FIFA announced after Thursday’s board meeting that more than

95,000 people have applied to be volunteers at the 2014 World Cup,

surpassing the numbers from Germany and South Africa in just more

than a week.

About 15,000 volunteers will be selected to work in the

tournament in Brazil, while about 7,000 will be picked for next

year’s Confederations Cup. Nearly 50,000 people applied to be

volunteers in 2006 and 70,000 in 2010, football’s governing body

said.

”FIFA is grateful for that and would like to stress once again

that the exceptional atmosphere that surrounds the FIFA World Cup

is mainly down to the volunteers,” Valcke said.

Local World Cup organizing committee president Jose Maria Marin

said: ”I’m delighted to see the people of Brazil responding so

well.”

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