UK & World News

  • 18 February 2014, 11:43

Brazil World Cup: Curitiba Stadium 'D-Day'

Fifa wiill decide later whether to pull the plug on one of Brazil's delayed World Cup stadiums, amid worries teams and fans could face disruption.

Nations playing at Curitiba's stadium - scheduled to stage four matches - include Russia and defending champions Spain.

However, England boss Roy Hodgson has told Sky News he does not think any change of venue would be a big problem.

Hodgson said: "If you were forced into a last minute change I'm pretty sure it wouldn't cause any major disruptions.

"But I still rather hope that Curitiba, like all the other stadiums, will be ready on time and there won't be any need for that (to move matches).

"If I was in that situation where it was being threatened I think I'd be working on the basis of 'I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.'"

Fans who have already paid out for travel and accommodation could also find themselves out of pocket if the stadium is canned.

Fifa Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in January that February 18 was decision day for the 40,000-capacity Arena da Baixada and demanded major progress on building works.

"We cannot organise a match without a stadium, this has reached a critical point," said Mr Valcke.

"Not only is it very behind in its construction, but it has failed to meet any of the deadlines set by Fifa."

Brazil's World Cup build up has been beset by construction delays and the deaths of six stadium workers in Manaus, Sao Paulo and Brasilia.

The country's President, Dilma Roussef, has even weighed in, saying she is "sure" that Curitiba will get the green-light from Fifa inspectors.

The stadium is said to be more than 90% complete, but despite more positive comments by Fifa in recent weeks, Mr Valcke has dismissed "speculation" and said the stadium's fate is far from settled.

Brazilian media have reported that Porto Alegre, some 400 miles away, is on standby if the stadium does not make the grade.

The big decision comes as the coaches of the 32 teams gather in the southern city of Florianapolis for a seminar to discuss logistics and assess facilities.

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