Brazil tells FIFA that Amazon venue will be ready

Updated: August 20, 2013, 8:30 PM ET
Associated Press

SAO PAULO -- Brazilian officials have given guarantees to FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke that the World Cup stadium in the Amazon city of Manaus will be completed by the December deadline established by football's governing body.

Valcke received the assurances from organizers during his inspection visit to the Arena Amazonia on Tuesday.

He also got guarantees from officials in the southern city of Curitiba, although the stadium there will be completed without the retractable roof from the original design. The roof was not a FIFA requirement, so it was cut from the project to avoid delaying the overall construction.

"We made a request to the city, the state and the club in relation to the progress of construction of the retractable roof, so that the contractual timeframe could be met," Valcke said.

The stadiums in Manaus and Curitiba are among the six which have to be delivered by the end of the year. The other six were ready for the Confederations Cup earlier this year, although only two were completed by the original deadline.

FIFA has made it clear that it will not tolerate the same type of delays for football's showcase event.

Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo last week said that work in nearly all six stadiums needed to be sped up in order to meet the December deadline. The stadium in Sao Paulo, which will host the World Cup opener on June 12, was the only unfinished venue which is not prompting concerns.

Valcke visited the Sao Paulo venue Monday and was satisfied with the progress, saying he was confident it will be ready.

The stadium in Manaus is 78 percent completed, with 12 percent of the work being done since July, according to local organizers.

"Great to be back in the heart of Amazonas," Valcke posted on Twitter. "Manaus' uniqueness will offer fans a very special (hash)worldcup experience."

Valcke was expected to attend a Brazilian Cup match in the jungle city Wednesday. His trip to Brazil will end Thursday after the board meeting of the local World Cup organizing committee in Rio de Janeiro.

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Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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