Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stadium delays in Brazil spur FIFA prodding

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SAO PAULO, Brazil -- FIFA again expressed its concern with Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup after local organizers said Tuesday they are facing challenges to meet the deadline for the stadium that will host the tournament's opening game in Sao Paulo.

A day after one of the engineers in charge of the stadium's construction said the venue is not expected to be fully ready by December as FIFA wants, local organizers said they are "looking for solutions" to speed up construction and finish the work on time.

FIFA has stated it will not tolerate delays with any of the 12 World Cup stadiums. Only two of the six Confederations Cup venues were completed on time. The home of the June 15 opener in Brasilia is yet to be completed.

The main concern in Sao Paulo is the temporary seats that have to be added to increase the stadium's capacity for the opener in 2014. Twenty thousand seats will be added after the stadium's main structure is ready, increasing the capacity to nearly 70,000. The stadium will host six World Cup matches, including the opener and one of the semifinals.

The construction company building the stadium, Odebrecht, has told the AP it will finish the main structure with 48,000 seats by the December deadline, but chief engineer Frederico Barbosa told the UOL website Monday it will likely take more time to add the temporary structures, which could be ready only by February or March.

FIFA wants stadiums ready at least six months before tournaments such as the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. This time it had to make an exception ahead of the warm-up tournament because of the series of delays in Brazil.

Only the venues in Fortaleza and Belo Horizonte were ready last December, and two others also missed the April 15 extension deadline that local organizers had set.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 8, 2013 D6

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