Sepp Blatter admits some World Cup venues will not make deadline
Fifa president optimistic all work on Brazilian stadiums will be completed by end of February
Fifa president Sepp Blatter says there is time to sort out venues in Brazil after some builds fall behind schedule. Photograph: Marcus Brandt/EPA
Fifa president Sepp Blatter said today he was confident all 12 stadiums would be ready when the tournament kicks off in June following a meeting with the local organising committee.
“We have just received a report,” he said. “There are some small delays in construction of stadia. But so small that with one exception we can say everything is ready.”
Fifa general secretary Jérôme Valcke said the stadium in Curitiba, which is the most behind schedule, would not be ready until the end of February and that extra resources would be devoted to fitting it out.
“Curitiba is the one where we are facing the most problems and won’t be delivered before the end of February 2014. That’s a fact. We will be ready to get the stadium by the end of February 2014,” Valcke said.
He later admitted that the stadium in Cuiaba was also unlikely to make the deadline.
The Arena Amazônia in Manaus, in the heart of the tropical rain forest, the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba and Cuiabá’s Arena Pantanal near the Bolivian border are still under construction.
“It’s a question of trust and confidence when we got into a big event like a Fifa World Cup. We have to express our trust and confidence in the government, the state government, the different cities,” said Blatter. “I am an optimist. But remember optimists live better and longer. So we go on with optimism in the future.”
The collapse of a crane at the new Corinthians stadium in São Paolo last week, killing two construction workers, raised fresh concerns about the building schedule. But the Brazilian deputy sports minister Luis Fernandes said the accident would not prevent the stadium being delivered by the January deadline.
“We are very sorry for the accident that took place during the Corinthians stadium construction in São Paolo. We will have a detailed report ready at the end of this week, allowing us to replan,” he said. “All the indications are that there will be no losses to the schedule in order to guarantee we have feasible time for all the preparation work.”
Blatter also faced renewed questions over security following the protests that swept Brazil during the Confederations Cup over lack of investment in social services and the money being spent on World Cup stadiums.
“Security is a matter of the state and the country. It is a matter of the guarantees given by the government when a World Cup is assigned,” said Blatter. “In comparison to what happened in the Confederations Cup I can only say that finally the security worked well and football was the winner.”
Fernandes said the Confederations Cup was a success, giving confidence for the World Cup.
Valcke ruled out moving kick-off times to deal with the extreme heat in the north of the country. Blatter added: “In Mexico we played a lot of matches at noon at altitude in different cities in big heat.”