Brazil must up its game to finish work for World Cup: FIFA

Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:21pm EST
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By Tatiana Ramil

FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil (Reuters) - Brazil still has a lot of work to do to finish stadiums and other infrastructure in time for the World Cup and needs to up its game in the 111 days before the kick off, FIFA's Jerome Valcke said on Friday.

"There is a strong demand for tickets, a huge demand from abroad, and we have to be prepared for them in the best possible way," the secretary general of world soccer's governing body told reporters on the last day of FIFA's pre-World Cup workshop.

The warning was yet another one for Brazil as it prepares for the June 12-July 13 tournament. The South American nation has struggled to get ready for the event with four of the 12 stadiums unfinished almost two months after the final deadline.

Valcke said the workshop, at which representatives of the 32 teams discussed logistics and other issues, was an important landmark for Brazil during a week in which the stadium in Porto Alegre opened and Curitiba's host city status was confirmed.

Curitiba had been threatened with exclusion from the tournament but Valcke said it would be ready in time to stage four matches, including one featuring world champions Spain.

"In those two cities there is a lot of work still to be done," Valcke warned. "The stadium in Porto Alegre is more or less ready, the structure is ready, but there is still a lot of work to be done, outside, on the IT projects, in the media center."

The Arena da Baixada in Curitiba is expected to be ready only in mid-May, a month before the first game there. The World Cup kicks off when Brazil face Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12.

BIG ISSUE   Continued...

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke arrives to speak about the status of the host city Curitiba ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Florianopolis in Santa Catarina state, February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes