By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Jerôme Valcke, the FIFA general secretary, once again criticized the delays in building the stadiums that will host the World Cup yesterday. With less than fifty days now until the tournament kicks-off in São Paulo, Mr. Valcke expressed concern that three of the twelve stadiums have not yet been completed.
The Arena Corinthians in São Paulo, which will host the opening ceremony and game, the Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá and the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba have yet to be handed over to FIFA. World football’s governing body had initially set a deadline of December 31, 2013.
Yesterday Valcke was at the Arena da Baixada to check on the progress made since FIFA were forced to offer an ultimatum to stadium administrators in mid-February. Yet there remains much to be done before June to the terraces.
According to Mr. Valcke only two-thirds of the seating has been installed. As a result, the stadium will receive only one test event prior to the World Cup, to be played either on May 13th or 14th.
The Arena da Baixada is scheduled to be handed over to FIFA on May 22nd. Valcke was tentative in his appraisal of the advances made on building works in Curitiba. “Some work has been done since February. But there is still work to be done. We will have only one test event here, instead of three or four,” he said.
Valcke did not spare the Arena Corinthians criticism either, confirming the stadium would only be finished at the last minute. “There will be a test event [at the Arena Corinthians] in the middle of May, with the stadium completely full,” he said.
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