By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
May 3 - Preparations for the 2014 World Cup have been slammed by FIFA, who have said that "it is amazing how Brazil is already late", which will set alarm bells ringing among officials monitoring Rio de Janeiro's early preparations for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.
FIFA's secretary general Jerome Valcke highlighted several areas of concern after receiving a report while in South Afrrica on the progress of the 12 stadiums being constructed or up-graded by Brazil to host the tournament for the first time since 1950.
Valcke told Associated Press: "I got a report on the status quo of the Brazilian stadiums.
"I have to say it is not very nice.
"There are a number [of stadiums] with red lights already, which is amazing.
"It is amazing how Brazil is already late.
"And I am not just talking about Morumbi or Maracana stadiums, I am talking about a number of stadiums.
"The stadiums are the basic points we need to have a World Cup and in Brazil, for the time being, most of the deadlines are already over and we have to work on new deadlines."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission, headed by Morocco's former Olympic 400 metres hurdles champion Nawal El Moutawakel, is due to begin its first visit to Rio on May 18.
During its successful bid Rio consistently claimed that hosting the World Cup two years before the Olympics would ensure that everything would be ready in time for the Games.
But its rivals Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo warned that preparing for the two biggest events in the world on the sports calendar would put too much pressure on Brazil.
Jacques, the President of the IOC, however, claimed in December that he was confident that staging the World Cup was a bonus.
He said: "We do not doubt and believe that the 2014 World Cup will greatly assist the project.
"We trust the Brazilians because they are developing at an extraordinary rate."
Valcke admitted that FIFA will be unable to turn their attention to the problems until after the tournament in South Africa, which ends on July 11.
But he warned that FIFA will expect Brazil to fulfil the commitments that they made when they were awarded the World Cup in 2007 when they were the only candidate following the withdrawal of Colombia.
It is the first time that a country will use 12 venues after Brazil were given special permission by FIFA.
The Brazilian Football Association (CBF) have estimated that it will cost $1.1 billion (£721 million) to construct and remodel the stadiums needed.
Valcke said: "For the time being, we have 12 host cities and we are not in a period where we have to make decisions.
"What we are saying is that all the things they have promised, they have been saying and they have signed, the commitment from different people they have to deliver these commitments."
Valcke also warned that if the stadium in Brasilia was reduced to 30,000 seats, as reports suggest, it will not be allowed to host the tournament's opening game.
He said: "Brazil is showing it is very difficult to organise a World Cup in Brazil, as it was difficult in South Africa."
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