By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The city of Recife and the Arena Pernambuco stadium is running further risks in its preparations for the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup. The stadium was last reported to have an opening date of January 6, 2013, however recent reports indicate more delays, which does not bode well for the popular city in Northeastern Brazil.
FIFA, world football’s governing body, will make a final judgment on November 8th on the cities that will host what is considered to be the World Cup’s dress rehearsal.
José Maria Marin, president of the CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation) and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) claimed to have received a letter from the governor of Pernambuco, Eduardo Campos, explaining the situation. “I received a letter from Eduardo Campos saying the stadium would be ready on April 14th,” Marin divulged.
That would mean that the arena would be completed just two months prior to the Confederations Cup kick-off, something that is far from ideal. It would give FIFA little time to review the stadium and make all the necessary safety checks which are vital prior to a major international tournament.
In February, the construction company Obedrecht increased the number of men working on the site to 2,400, and that number was reported to be increased to 5,000 soon to make up time. Now the contractors will need to show FIFA that they have the resources to deliver the stadium in time.
The Confederations Cup, which will run from June 15th to June 30th of next year, originally had six cities confirmed as hosts: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Fortlaeza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. Yet with only sixty percent of building works complete at the Arena Pernambuco, that number could be cut to five.
At a FIFA press conference held at the Riocentro in Barra da Tijuca, Brazilian Minister for Sport Aldo Rebelo expressed with confidence that Recife would be ready in time for the Confederations Cup. “Our idea is still to host the tournament across six stadiums,” he said.
“The final decision will be taken at the beginning of November, but until that date we work with the idea of using six stadiums. The progress of the Arena Pernambuco depends strongly on the government of Pernambuco,” he concluded.
November 8th will be an important date for Brazil with regards to Confederations Cup preparations. FIFA will announce ticket prices for the competition on that day, with tickets subsequently going on sale to the general public on December 3rd.
The draw for the group stage of the tournament will take place on December 1st at the Anhembi Complex in São Paulo. Of the eight teams that will compete, seven are already confirmed.
Alongside hosts Brazil, World and European champions Spain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Uruguay and Tahiti will all take to the field. Africa’s entrant will be known in January after the 2013 African Cup of Nations with the champions heading to Brazil in June.