Brazil will meet World Cup deadline – officials

RIO DE JANEIRO, (Reuters) – Brazil’s 2014 World Cup  officials are lining up to debunk FIFA chief Sepp Blatter’s  suggestion they are behind schedule, with Rio de Janeiro state  sports secretary Marcia Lins joining the fray yesterday.

Sepp Blatter

“Blatter mustn’t worry, the (construction) time frame will  be met,” Lins said in an interview with Reuters.

FIFA president Blatter criticised on Monday what he called  Brazil’s day-after-tomorrow attitude to their World Cup  preparations.

He said political infighting was delaying work especially in  Rio, which is to host the final at the giant Maracana stadium,  and Sao Paulo where work has not yet begun on a venue to hold  the opening match.

The Brazilian government and the local organising committee  also said soccer’s ruling body FIFA should not worry and invited  Blatter to come and see for himself.

“If (FIFA) have doubts they can be clarified. They can come  here and watch the work going on at the Maracana,” said Lins,  repeating the invitation to Blatter.

“We have cameras monitoring the works and the local  organising committee have access. There are daily visits and  inspections that will show the Maracana won’t be a problem for  the (2013) Confederations Cup,” Lins added.

“The stadium will be ready in December 2012. There’s no risk  of that not happening.”

MAIN ARENA

Lins said she was working on the basis of the Maracana being  the main arena for the Confederations Cup which will act as a  dress rehearsal for the World Cup a year later.

“It’s a natural thing. One of the objectives of the  Confederations Cup is to test the stadiums for the (World) Cup.  The Maracana, apart from staging the final, will be used for  other matches,” she said.

“Rio is also the gateway to Brazil which gives the stadium  even more relevance.”

The project for the stadium’s refurbishment is to be  officially unveiled on April 19.

It will detail all the work to be undertaken including  whether the run-down upper tier will be restored or rebuilt from  scratch — which is expected to increase costs from 705 million  reais ($428 million) to more than one billion.

“If we opt for restoring (the Maracana) it will get a new  lease of life of something over 10 years,” Lins said. “If we  decide on reconstruction, that time could be 20, 30 years  depending on the materials we use.”

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