Curitiba to remain as a World Cup venue

Fifa withdraws threat to move World Cup games to a different Brazilian city

Workers at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba.

Workers at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba.

Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 19:14

Fifa has withdrawn its threat to ditch Curitiba as a World Cup venue and confirmed the four matches will take place in the Brazilian city.

Work at the stadium has faced numerous delays and Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke has admitted the venue still faces a race against a “very tight timeline” to be completed.

The four group games includes reigning world champions Spain against Australia.

Valcke said on his Twitter account: “Curitiba confirmed as World Cup venue, based on the financial guarantees, the commitment by all stakeholders & progress made.

“It’s a race against a very tight timeline. Collective effort by all the stakeholders involved in Curitiba must continue at highest pace.”

Work had fallen behind schedule at the stadium because of delays in financing the project.

The removal of Curitiba would have been the biggest blow yet to Brazil’s troubled preparations to stage sport‘s most- watched event for the first time since 1950.

The build-up has been marred by a series of crises, notably delays in building stadiums and infrastructure .

Six workers have also been killed in accidents on stadium construction sites, including four since November.

Fifa has never dropped a World Cup host city.

Losing the Arena Baixada would have created severe problems for tournament organisers with several thousand tickets for the four games to be played there already sold.

The first is between Iran and Nigeria on June 16th.

Officials in Curitiba had said last year that the stadium would be ready a month before Fifa‘s December 2013 deadline.

Work there has not only been delayed but also faced cost overruns, and the latest estimate is 78 per cent more than the original budget.

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