FIFA has some concerns with 2014 WCup preparations
FIFA remains concerned with Brazil's transportation infrastructure as the country prepares to host the 2014 World Cup.
Football's governing body said Friday that Brazil is mostly on track with its preparations, but ''concerns remain with regard to airport operations and capacities as well as transport infrastructure.''
Renovating Brazil's overcrowded airports and improving urban mobility have been among the biggest challenges for local organizers ahead of the World Cup.
''It is crucial that any venues which host the World Cup have adequate infrastructure to be able to cater for the tens of thousands of spectators and allow them to move around the city for a particular match,'' FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said in a statement. ''If this is not the case, we cannot stage matches in those cities.''
FIFA said such concerns have been addressed with the highest authorities in Brazil and they are aware of the need for improvements.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff recently announced the country's airports will be opened up to private investment to ensure they are completed in time for the World Cup. Local officials have said they are confident the country will be able to properly accommodate the World Cup visitors three years from now.
Although FIFA said it received detailed reports showing that most World Cup preparations are ''well on track,'' delays in stadium construction will keep the cities of Natal and Sao Paulo out of the Confederations Cup. The governing body said only cities with a stadium ready in early 2013 will be eligible to host matches in the warmup tournament.
Natal and Sao Paulo, South America's biggest city and Brazil's financial center, have yet to begin venue construction. Sao Paulo still wants to host the tournament's opener, however.
Sao Paulo also won't be able to host the International Broadcast Center, which FIFA said will be located in Rio de Janeiro. Brasilia, the nation's capital, also was vying to accommodate the tournament's media center.
FIFA said the venues and the match schedule for the World Cup will be presented on July 29 in Rio de Janeiro. The preliminary draw for the World Cup is scheduled for July 30.
Tales Azzoni can be reached at http://twitter.com/tazzoni