CONCERN BUILDS OVER BRAZIL STADIUMS

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke is worried about the slow pace of construction at some Confederations Cup stadiums, saying Brazil has to "speed up" work to make sure all six venues are ready in time for next year's tournament.

Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia were initially selected as hosts, but FIFA says Recife and Salvador will only host matches if they show improvement in their preparations by November.

Valcke said: "Definitely there is some concern about a few stadiums, so we will have to make sure that the work will have to speed up. I'm talking mainly about the Confederations Cup. [For] the World Cup, it's okay for the time being."

The Arena Pernambuco in Recife is due to open in February but its construction is only 64 per cent completed. The construction company said that work is progressing by six percent each month since July, but local organisers wanted the work to be at about 80 percent finalised by the end of this month to satisfy FIFA's inspectors.

Before it was picked as a Confederations Cup host, Recife planned to have the 46,000-seat stadium completed at the end of 2013. It will host five World Cup matches, including one in the second round.

Arena Pernambuco will host three matches if it's included in the Confederation Cup tournament, which will be played June 15th to the 30th among the six continental champions, the World Cup winner and the host team.

Salvador is the other city which also has the November deadline to guarantee its participation in the Confederations Cup, but the Arena Fonte Nova was 74 percent completed by the end of September.

Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo, the government official in charge of the World Cup and Olympic preparations said: "Obviously at this moment in time there are no stadiums that are yet ready for the Confederations Cup. 

"We cannot, however, bring completion dates forward. We have schedules in which the stadiums will be ready and that will be the time to complete them."

FIFA has to decide the hosts by mid-November because that's when it will start preparing the tournament's ticket sales.

Posted on 16/10/2012