Brazil President Expects Nine Stadiums to be Ready for World Cup 2014 after Blatter Doubts

August 31, 2011

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff has hit back at Sepp Blatter’s call for the opening match to be held in Rio after work on nine of the stadium projects for the World Cup will be completed next year she says.

“We are monitoring the execution of works. The renovation and construction of stadiums are on pace,” Rousseff said in her weekly address on Tuesday, according to O Globo Esportes, in response to criticism of delays in the preparation of the 12 host venues.

Brazilian sports minister Orlando Silva has previously promised that 10 stadia would be ready for the Confederations Cup, which is played in June 2013, and all 12 World Cup venues by the end of that year. 

FIFA remains concerned about the sluggish modernisation programme for the host stadia and various transport upgrades, particularly airports. 

But last month the FIFA president expressed confidence the projects would be delivered on time.

The biggest worry appears to be construction of the new Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paolo that is slated to host the World Cup opener.

But Sao Paulo’s World Cup leader Gilmar Thaddeus has promised that the city will deliver on its pledges for the 2014 tournament.

“We are working seriously, fulfilling all the commitments made to receive the opening match,” Thaddeus was quoted in the Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo.

Blatter had earlier this week suggested the opening match of the World Cup could be played at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro which is currently undergoing a major facelift for the tournament.

“Brazilian football is Rio. And for the world, Rio is the most attractive city to open the World Cup without any doubt at all,” Blatter told the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.

What is certain is that Corinthians’ 65,000-seater will not be finished in time to host matches at the 2013 Confederations Cup. 

FIFA will choose the venue for the World Cup opener at its executive committee meeting in Zurich, Oct. 20 to 21.