Lifestyle & Belief

World Cup stadiums in Brazil are behind schedule


Brazil's Arena de Sao Paulo in construction, as of Nov. 30.


Friedemann Vogel

Global soccer authority FIFA said Tuesday three of 12 World Cup venues would be delivered beyond the Dec. 31 deadline.

Soccer's governing body indicated ahead of Friday's draw in the northeastern Brazil resort of Costa do Sauipe that the stadiums at Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Cuiaba would not meet a deadline it previously insisted was set in stone.

Delivery of the stadiums at Curitiba and Cuiaba is now expected for February, just four months before the World Cup starts.

FIFA does not have a date for when the Sao Paulo arena will be ready following last week's accident when two workers were killed after a crane collapsed and damaged part of the stands.

The soccer authority said it would not allow the deadline to be extended, having tolerated similar delays ahead of last June's Confederations Cup dress rehearsal, when several venues missed the deadline for that tournament.

At least Sao Paulo “will be ready,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter told a news conference.

Blatter said he made his optimistic assessment on a new report.

“We have just received a report. There are some small delays in construction of stadia. But so small that with one exception [Sao Paulo] we can say everything is ready,” Blatter said.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said the stadium in Curitiba, which has been lagging behind schedule more than the other venues, would not be ready until the end of February.

“Curitiba is the one where we are facing the most problems and won’t be delivered before the end of February 2014,” Valcke said.

“We will be ready to get the stadium by the end of February 2014.” 

The Arena Amazonia in Manaus, in the heart of the tropical rain forest, is also still under construction, as is the one at Cuiaba.

Blatter said that FIFA believed it could trust the federal government, the state government and city authorities to ready their sites in good time to host the event.

Brazilian Sports Ministry Executive Secretary Luis Fernandes indicated that the stadiums lagging behind would be delivered “in late January, or late February.”