Fifa: four grounds okay for rehearsal
With just eight months left to Confederations Cup in Brazil, construction delays mean stadiums for preparatory tournament unlikely to be ready
Agence France-Presse in Rio de Janeiro
World governing body Fifa said four stadiums would suffice for Brazil to stage the 2013 Confederations Cup in view of delays in preparing the six arenas initially planned.
"We need at least four, but we can use five or six," said Walter de Gregorio, Fifa's communications director, after meeting with the Brazilian 2014 World Cup organising committee (COL).
He would not say how many stadiums Fifa plans to approve for the Confederations Cup, a dress rehearsal for the World Cup, saying the number would be announced in Sao Paulo on November 8.
On that day, details will also be announced regarding ticket sales, which are to begin on December 3, he added. Fifa will then decide on venues depending on progress made on stadiums in the northern cities of Recife and Salvador.
There is concern about Recife's Pernambucana venue, which is only 64 per cent complete eight months before the tournament opener.
The Confederations Cup is to be held June 15-30, 2013, in four confirmed cities: Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, where the final and the opening games will be played respectively, as well as Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza.
This week, Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke highlighted major delays in preparing the six Brazilian stadiums for next year's Confederations Cup.
"Few stadiums will be delivered on time. Things need to be speeded up for the Confederations Cup," said Valcke, who was in hospital in Rio late on Wednesday for treatment of a urinary infection.
Fifa demands that stadiums be ready at least one month ahead of time to conduct tests on security, telecommunications and other areas ahead of the event.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo reiterated that the six stadiums would be ready for next year's event.
"Until the decision is announced in early November, we are working on the assumption that six stadiums will be available," Rebelo told a news conference alongside Jose Maria Marin, president of the COL and of the Brazilian Football Confederation, and former Brazil soccer great Bebeto.
The Confederations Cup, for top teams from the major Fifa regions, will be contested by Spain, who won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, hosts Brazil, as well as Mexico, winners of the Concacaf Gold Cup, and Uruguay, winners of the Copa America.
Other participants will include Italy, runners-up at the 2010 European Championship won by Spain, Tahiti, representing Oceania, and whichever nation wins the 2013 African Nations Cup.
The draw for the tournament will take place in Sao Paulo on December 1.