World Cup venue costs rise significantly in Brazil

As the 2014 World Cup gets closer, the stadium costs in Brazil

keep going up.

Indecision on where and how to build venues have reduced the

time left for construction work, significantly increasing the

amount needed to be spent in nearly all of the 12 cities hosting

World Cup matches three years from now.

The Maracana, which will host the tournament’s final, is among

the stadiums that will cost a lot more than originally planned when

the initial projects were presented to FIFA after Brazil was chosen

as World Cup host a few years ago.

Sao Paulo, touted to host the World Cup opener, is also facing

an increase.

A report by the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Brazil’s largest,

said Thursday the total outlay required had increased 56 percent so

far.

When the host cities were chosen in May 2009, the stadiums were

projected to cost nearly $2.6 billion (?1.8 billion), but now the

bill is closer to $4 billion ($2.8 billion).

Stadium delays have been one of the main concerns for World Cup

organizers in Brazil, along with improving the nation’s outdated

airport infrastructure, which will be key to accommodating the

hundreds of thousands of visitors during the monthlong

tournament.

Although officials have guaranteed that all stadiums will be

ready on time, three host cities are yet to start building their

venues – Sao Paulo, Natal and Curitiba.

Sao Paulo initially planned to host matches at the renovated

Morumbi stadium, but that was rejected by FIFA because of a lack of

financial guarantees. The city, South America’s biggest, was

without a stadium project for several months until Corinthians

announced it would build an arena for the tournament.

However, the club initially said the stadium would accommodate

only 48,000 people, not enough for the opener. The city had to

provide tax breaks so could Corinthians could submit a new plan to

expand, thus delaying the project and increasing the cost.

”It’s important for those involved to understand that Sao Paulo

is the key football center in Brazil,” Brazil coach Mano Menezes

said. ”At times, there are difficulties. But I’m optimistic that

in the end everybody will do well, including Sao Paulo.”

Although FIFA has said that no venue has been ruled out for the

2013 Confederations Cup, Sao Paulo officials have said the city is

unlikely to host matches in the World Cup warm-up tournament as the

stadium won’t be ready by then.

”We are not very optimistic regarding the readiness of Sao

Paulo for the FIFA Confederations Cup,” FIFA secretary general

Jerome Valcke said. ”Morumbi is definitely no option. However, the

decision of the venues selected will be taken at the first meeting

of the organizing committee on July 29 in Rio de Janeiro.”

Rio city officials announced Wednesday that Maracana’s

renovations will be completed in time for the Confederations Cup,

but the famed stadium also cost more than originally planned

because a new roof has to be built. The original project was

estimated at about $430 million, but the final cost will near $590

million.

Missed deadlines and problems in bidding processes have also

marred other venues, and Folha said the costs of eight other

stadiums have risen.

Only the jungle city of Manaus hasn’t increased its venue cost

so far, while Cuiaba says it will actually spend 12 percent less

than planned, according to Folha

Tales Azzoni can be reached at http://twitter.com/tazzoni