Two days before Thursday's scheduled visit to the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke expressed about concerns about it readiness to host Confederations Cup matches in June.
“The city I'm traveling to in two days is the one which is causing FIFA the most concern,” he told reporters during a trip to the Arena do Copa outside Recife.
FIFA wants the six stadiums to host Confederations Cup matches to be ready by mid-April so final inspections and needed changes can be implemented.
“The date of completion is very important so we can test them before the start,” Valcke said. “May is too late and that could cause a lot of trouble for FIFA, for the World Cup and for Brazil.”
Renovation deadlines have been pushed back several times for Maracana, which was built for the 1950 World Cup and has since undergone renovations at different times.
Work for the Confederations Cup and World Cup was due for completion in December, but the deadline was put back to February and then to the current mid-April deadline.
The work started in 2010 at a cost of $457 million and a friendly is scheduled to be played there between Brazil and England on June 2.
Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) technical director Virgilio Elisio said delays may force the Maracana work to be speeded up.
The Arena do Copa was less than half-complete when the local organizing committee conducted its first visit last year but officials say the work is 90 percent done.
“Now we have to work on the pitch, which is the most important project,” said Valcke. “The pitch will be planted in the new few weeks, but we don't have much time for it to be ready. It's important that they have the same conditions for all the matches, that is something we try to guarantee.”
DRONES SET FOR TEST. Four Israeli-made RQ-450 drones will be used to help provide security during the Confederations Cup. The unmanned planes are also expected to be part of the Brazilian Air Force's security during the 2014 World Cup.
The drones will operate within Brazil’s borders and only be used extensively during the the Confederations Cup. Two have been in operation since 2011. The other two, which will be ready in March, feature better infrared cameras and enhanced communication systems.
Brazil is also working on getting a new radar system in place.
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