Blatter prays to God over April date for Sao Paulo stadium

Thu Dec 5, 2013 11:47am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Andrew Downie

COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (Reuters) - The stadium that will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup will not be ready until April 14 or 15, less than two months before the tournament kicks off, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday.

The announcement came a day after the Brazilian government said the stadium would be ready in February.

The Itaquera Arena in Sao Paulo was originally supposed to be ready this month but an accident last week set the timetable back. Two workers were killed after a crane collapsed into a stand.

Blatter did not give details but appealed to higher powers in the hope the stadium will be completed.

"We believe it is a question of trust and that it will be done," he told reporters.

"For the time being there is no Plan B and what FIFA can do now is ask God, Allah, whoever, that no more accidents shall arise in connection with the World Cup. That is all we can do and we hope the reconstruction can start as soon as possible."

Host nation Brazil will open the tournament at the stadium on June 12. Their opponents in the prestigious match will be known on Friday when the draw is made for the 32-team tournament.

The setback is the latest in a string of delays involving stadiums and transportation.   Continued...

FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks during a news conference ahead of the 2014 World Cup draw at the Costa do Sauipe resort in Sao Joao da Mata, Bahia state, December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes