sport

Sepp to calm stadium concerns

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is expected to ease concerns about World Cup venues after officials confirmed that four more stadiums will be ready this month.

Fears were raised about whether Brazil has fallen behind in its preparations for next summer's tournament after it emerged that some of the stadia will not be delivered by the December deadline.

But officials have revealed that four more stadiums will be finished in time, leaving just the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba and the Itaquera Corinthians in Sao Paulo, where two workers died last week when a crane collapsed onto the stadium.

FIFA and the Brazilian government are waiting for a technical report into last week's accident but the stadium looks set to be ready for the opening match on 12 June, with the other 11 venues on course for completion.

"The stadiums in Natal, Manaus, Porto Alegre and Cuiaba will be ready or almost ready in December in time for FIFA's December 31 deadline," said Brazil's deputy sports minister Luis Fernandes.

Blatter is likely to echo the words of FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, who remains confident the work will be carried out in time.

Speaking earlier this week, he said: "Curitiba is the one where we are facing the most problems and won't be delivered before the end of February 2014.

"I think there will be two stadiums, without talking about Sao Paulo, where they will be delivered more in the region of February than January or December.

"But it is still something we will cope with."

Blatter could also be asked to address security issues following the recent protests during the Confederations Cup over the lack of funding for social services.