They are confirming what we already knew...
Brazil To Miss FIFA Deadline For World Cup Stadiums
By Anthony Boadle and Andrew Downie
PAULO, April 10 (Reuters) - More than half a million tickets have been
sold for the Confederations Cup in June, but host nation Brazil has yet
to finish the main stadiums to be used in the dress rehearsal for the
2014 soccer World Cup.
On the eve of yet another FIFA deadline,
Brazil has delivered only three of the six venues for the eight-nation
warm-up starting in two months.
World soccer's governing body
FIFA had demanded that all six stadiums be ready by this past December
but construction delays forced it to extend the deadline until April 15.
Even with that extra time, all the stadiums will not be ready.
cities of Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza and Salvador have complied with the
timetable and delivered their stadiums, while Recife will open its
Arena Pernambuco on Sunday, one day ahead of the final FIFA deadline.
Brasilia, 5,000 workers toil around the clock to finish the Mane
Garrincha National Stadium, bolting seats into concrete galleries and
draining the field where rolls of grass have still to be laid for the
pitch. The $500 million colonnaded arena in the center of Brazil's
modern capital is the most expensive of the 12 venues that will host the
Brazil will face Japan here in the opening game of
the Confederations Cup on June 15, the first test of the South American
nation's ability to organize two rapidly approaching global sporting
events, next year's World Cup and the Olympic Games two years later.
delays and cost overruns are threatening to turn the two events into an
international embarrassment for Brazil instead of showcasing its
arrival as a major economic power.
Brazilian officials, however,
maintain that all will be fine. Opening Salvador's Fonte Nova stadium
last week, President Dilma Rousseff said five-times world champion
Brazil will prove to be unbeatable on and off the sports field by
"exceeding expectations" in organizing the global soccer tournament.
biggest problem is with the venerable Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil's largest stadium built for the 1950 World Cup. The arena is
scheduled to hold the final match of the tournament on June 30 but is
still undergoing finishing touches to a $400 million refurbishment, it's
third costly overhaul in 12 years.
The pitch has been laid and
more than half the 78,000 seats have been installed, but work is still
being done on the massive roof while access areas to the stadium have
not been started.
Maracanã was supposed to be ready by this past
December but that date was repeatedly pushed back. The earliest it will
be handed over to FIFA is April 27, FIFA and Rio state officials said,
and there are doubts the stadium will be finished even then.
exasperated FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke reluctantly
acknowledged last week that Brazil will not complete its preparations on
"Not all operational arrangements will be 100 percent" for
the Confederations Cup, Valcke wrote on FIFA's website, warning that
such delays would not be tolerated for the World Cup.
deadline for the FIFA World Cup stadiums delivery stands firm as
December 2013. There will be no compromise," he wrote. Valcke said the
scale of next year's World Cup required a minimum six-month operational
With an estimated 3 million spectators flocking to 12
stadiums in a dozen cities across Brazil - more than half a million of
them foreign visitors - the 32-nation, 64-game World Cup will be a major
logistical challenge for Brazil.
Brazil's World Cup preparations
have been criticized several times by FIFA, including Valcke's
statement last year that the country needed "a kick in the backside."
in upgrading airports and urban transport could cause a logistical
nightmare with so many soccer fans attending games. Projects to add bus
lanes, trams and monorails in Brasilia, Fortaleza, Manaus, Salvador and
Sao Paulo will not be ready in time, according to the government agency
that audits public spending.
Confederations Cup brings together the champions of FIFA's six
geographic confederations, along with the current world champions Spain
and the World Cup hosts. It is considered an important organizational
test ahead of the World Cup.
Demand for the Confederations Cup has been high and more than 546,000 tickets have already been sold, according to FIFA.
best, it looks like the Confederations Cup matches will be played in
stadiums that are usable, but not finished. One worry is that Brazilian
officials will declare the works complete and open them to the public
even though they are not ready, a common practice in Brazil.
in Rio opened a massive concert hall and music complex in 2008 only to
undertake another four years of works because the original construction
was so shoddy.
Rio's Engenhão stadium, opened in 2007 for the Pan
American Games, was closed last month because of fears the roof could
blow down in high winds.
The grass was so poor at the brand new
Gremio Arena in Porto Alegre, a stadium that will not be used for World
Cup, that the club had to play games elsewhere to let it mend.
requires that the new stadiums be tested twice, preferably with soccer
games. At Maracanã, a first test will be behind closed doors on April 27
when local World Cup organizing committee members Ronaldo and Bebeto
try out the field playing with a group of friends.
The big test
will come on June 2, just two weeks before the Confederations Cup kicks
off, when Brazil plays a friendly against England.
valuable time preparing for the World Cup by taking two years just to
decide on which 12 cities would host the games, a problem soccer star
Ronaldo says is cultural.
"We leave everything to the last
minute," Ronaldo told O Globo newspaper on Sunday. "We've had since 2007
to get organized. We wouldn't be under such pressure today if we had."
(Additional reporting by Tatiana Ramil and Pedro Fonseca; Editing by
Todd Benson and Will Dunham)