SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian organizers say they are facing challenges to meet FIFA's deadline for the stadium which will host the 2014 World Cup opener in Sao Paulo.
A day after one of the engineers in charge of the stadium's construction said the venue is not expected to be fully ready by December as FIFA wants, local organizers said they are "looking for solutions" to speed up construction and finish the work on time.
FIFA has stated clearly that it will not tolerate delays with any of the 12 World Cup stadiums, which need to be ready by December. Only two of the six Confederations Cup venues were completed on time. The home of the June 15 opener in Brasilia is yet to be completed.
The main concern in Sao Paulo is the temporary seats which will have to be added to increase the stadium's capacity for the opener in 2014. Twenty thousand seats will be added after the stadium's main structure is ready, improving the capacity to nearly 70,000. The stadium will host six World Cup matches, including one of the semifinals.
The construction company building the stadium, Odebrecht, has told The Associated Press that it will finish the main structure with 48,000 seats by the December deadline, but chief engineer Frederico Barbosa told the UOL website on Monday that it will likely take more time to add the temporary structures, which could be ready only by February or March.
Sao Paulo officials are the ones responsible for the addition of the temporary seats.
"The local organizing committee knows of the challenges that the host city of Sao Paulo is facing to install the temporary seats in the stadium," the committee said in a statement. "However, the committee has been informed that the city is looking for solutions to accelerate the timetable for the installation so it can deliver the stadium and all the temporary structures by December this year, which is the deadline agreed upon in contract by all six host cities of the Confederations Cup in 2007."
FIFA, which did not immediately answer requests for comment, has always wanted stadiums ready at least six months before tournaments such as the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. This time it had to make an exception ahead of the warm-up tournament because of the series of delays in Brazil.
Only the venues in Fortaleza and Belo Horizonte were ready be last December, and two others also missed the April 15 extension deadline that local organizers had set. The stadium of the Confederations Cup opener in Brasilia will only be delivered on May 18.
FIFA said last month that "delays like the ones observed will not be tolerated for the stadiums that will host" World Cup matches.
Football's governing body said Tuesday that more than 588,000 tickets have already been sold for the Confederations Cup, including nearly 58,000 for the opener between Brazil and Japan on June 15.
The most sought-after match so far match is Mexico vs. Italy in Rio de Janeiro, with more than 63,000 tickets sold. Almost 61,000 tickets have been bought for the final at the new Maracana Stadium on June 30. Only about 10,000 have been sold for the match between newcomer Tahiti and African Cup champion Nigeria in Belo Horizonte.
The Confederations Cup is played among continental champions plus the host nation and the World Cup champion.
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