SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Six cities and seven stadiums are to be used as soccer venues for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, FIFA announced on Monday, but Sao Paulo club Corinthians have already threatened to pull their ground out unless they are paid for necessary alterations.
There will be two venues in the host city of Rio de Janeiro with matches held at the Olympic stadium and the Maracana, site of the 2014 World Cup final, FIFA said.
The other games are to take place at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, the Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia, the Amazonia arena in Manaus, the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador and the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo.
“The Olympic football tournaments will be a fantastic opportunity to revive the great atmosphere seen during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, not only in Rio de Janeiro but also in the other five cities,” said Marco Polo Del Nero, chairman of the organizing committee for the Games soccer.
“They did an excellent job in 2014 and now they can use the World Cup stadiums and infrastructure already in place to unite the country for a major event once more,” he added in a news release.
Sixteen men’s sides and 12 women’s teams will play 58 matches between Aug. 3-20.
However, Andres Sanchez, former president of Corinthians and who is responsible for overseeing stadium management, said the club would not foot the bill for alterations.
“It’s a great honor for Corinthians to have the Corinthians arena selected as the city’s stadium for the 2016 Olympic Games,” Sanchez said in a statement posted on their web site.
“However, we are once again replying to a request from the city of Sao Paulo and we need to know who will be responsible for paying.
“If we don’t, the club will review the decision to host the Olympic (football),” Sanchez added.
The Corinthians arena hosted six matches in the 2014 World Cup, including the prestigious opening game and the semi-final between Argentina and the Netherlands.
However, it was one of the last to be ready and one of the most costly. Corinthians are in severe financial difficulties and although Sanchez has traveled the world seeking companies to pay for naming rights, no buyers have appeared.
Olympic gold is the only major title that Brazil have not won and the host nation are determined to end that run.
All the teams will be largely made up of youngsters but three players over 23 are permitted in each squad.
Barcelona forward Neymar has already confirmed that he plans to be one of Brazil’s three over-age players.
Editing by Tony Jimenez/Peter Rutherford