Manaus warned it risks being cut as World Cup venue as Valcke demands it speeds up

Friday, 30 November 2012
By Andrew Warshaw

Jerome Valcke inspecting work at Porto AlegreNovember 30 - Considerable work still needs to be done to bring Brazil up to speed for both next summer's Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup, according to FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke.

Just as football's top brass gathered in St Paulo for the Confederations Cup draw, Valcke made it clear that the city of Manaus in the heart of the Amazon basin must go quicker with construction work on its new 44,000-capacity stadium - or risk being cut from the World Cup.

"The only one city where they have really to speed up and to work on different contractors and the different agreements they have to sign to be ready on time, which is December 2013, is Manaus," Valcke said.

"We are a bit concerned...because for them to be ready by December 2013 seems to me difficult for them to reach."

FIFA's guidelines say the stadiums in the 12 host cities must be ready at least six months in advance because the World Cup fixture draw takes place in December 2013.

Workman at ManausA Workman at construction of the stadium in Manaus, which is behind schedule and causing concern to FIFA

"For the World Cup we need the stadium in advance, we need three test events," Valcke said.

"You cannot have the stadium six weeks in advance, that is technically impossible.

"There is no plan B, you can always decide to take one stadium off."

The Confederations Cup too needed to get its act together, said Valcke.

"2013 is definitely a key year with the lessons of the Confederations Cup," he said.

"We have a number of things to work on."

More than 120,000 tickets have already been sold for the Confederations Cup, the traditional World Cup dress rehearsal featuring Continental national champions, 13 times more than the amount sold at the same stage by South Africa in 2009.

The most popular matches are the semi-final in Belo Horizonte, the final at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro and the opening match in the capital Brasilia.

"Tomorrow is the most important day of the year for us," said José Maria Marin, President of Brazil's 2014 World Cup Organising Committee.

"After an entire year of planning, we will finally find out the matchups for the Confederations Cup.

"Brazil will start attracting even more attention beginning tomorrow."

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