Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil World Cup: Minister concerned by stadium delays

Arena da Amazonia, Manaus 2 Aug 13
Image caption The Arena da Amazonia, in Manaus, is one of the major concerns, with nearly one third of the work still to be done

Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has said he is worried about delays at five stadiums still being built for next year's football World Cup.

Mr Rebelo said the pace of construction must be accelerated if the venues are to be ready by this December.

Brazil has seen two months of protests against corruption and overspending in the preparation for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Only one of the six stadiums under construction is on schedule.

The opening match venue in Sao Paulo is 84% built and is expected to be ready by the end of the year, as demanded by the World Cup organisers, Fifa.

'No budget increase'

There are bigger concerns over the pace of work at the arenas being built in Manaus, Curitiba, Cuiaba, Porto Alegre and Natal, which are from 71% to 79% ready.

"This must be seen as a warning. We cannot keep on the same rhythm, or we will not deliver them on time," said Mr Rebelo.

"It is possible to intensify. We are able to meet the deadlines, but it should be noted that it will require us to speed up the construction."

He warned that no extra government funds would be given to construction companies to have the work finished on time.

Image caption Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar is the country's biggest hope of success in 2014

"There will be no budget increase, because, for example, instead of paying 10 workers during two months, you can pay 20 to work for 30 days," Mr Rebelo explained.

The World Cup will be played in 12 stadiums across the country.

The opening match is due to take place at a brand-new venue being built in the outskirts of Sao Paulo on 12 June.

The final is scheduled for the 13 July in country's most famous football stadium, the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

Six of the World Cup venues were put to test in June during the Confederations Cup, won by Brazil with a 3-0 victory over world champions Spain in the final.

Fifa has previously said that the World Cup will go ahead in Brazil as planned.

"The first game will happen in Sao Paulo, the final will be in Rio. There is no plan B," said Fifa general-secretary Jerome Valcke during the Confederations Cup.

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