UK & World News

  • 23 January 2014, 10:09

Brazil President Faces Fifa Showdown Over Delays

Brazil's president faces a showdown with the head of Fifa over the country's preparations for the World Cup.

Dilma Rousseff opened a new stadium on Wednesday, but Sepp Blatter has described Brazil as more behind than any other previous host country.

It is not just stadiums but also infrastructure which is still not built with 140 days until kick-off.

The road to Recife Stadium is yet to be finished and one worker told Sky News they would meet the April deadline "in theory".

Fifa does not like theories - it wants big solid structures.

And as Fifa Secretary General Jerome Valcke completed this week's tour of Brazil, he was concerned that some stadiums were not yet there.

Ms Rousseff showed no doubts as she kicked a ball to inaugurate Natal's stadium. "Enchanted", is how she described the feeling.

She is travelling to Switzerland to meet Mr Blatter, who has so far been critical of Brazil's progress.

Of  the 12 World Cup stadiums, six were completed for the Confederation's Cup last year, and with the Arena Das Dunas in Natal now open, that leaves five incomplete.

The worst is in Curitiba - described this week by Mr Valcke as "dangerous" and currently "meeting no Fifa standards".

Officials have been given four weeks to present a solution or face losing their World Cup fixtures.

Mr Valcke also found the Pantanal stadium in Cuiaba was behind schedule with patchy grass and only 40 of 40,000 seats in place.

As for Sao Paulo, where an accident delayed work last November, he was confident the Itaquerao stadium would be ready, but only weeks before the opening match on the June 12.

Elsewhere, the December deadline for completion had been missed in Porto Alegre and Manaus, where England are due to play their first game.

The jungle stadium is 95% complete and the British ambassador to Brazil, Alex Ellis visited it on Wednesday.

"I'm pleased to see that the stadium is almost complete. I am certain that it is going to be a fantastic game on June 14," he said.

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