Four cities in running for 2014 World Cup opening ceremony
Silva said that FIFA would announce in October which city will stage the contest, with Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo considered the favourites for the accolade. Rio’s Maracana stadium will host the World Cup final while Sao Paulo, the country’s financial centre, is hoping a delayed stadium project will not derail its bid for the opener. Brasilia, the country’s capital city, and the north-eastern city of Salvador are considered as outside bets.
According to the Associated Press, Silva said that the cities would be judged on technical criteria. It was originally thought that Sao Paulo would stage the opening match of the tournament, with the Maracana, the country’s most famous stadium, hosting the final. Sao Paulo’s chances of hosting the opening ceremony and contest at the World Cup received a boost in July after a funding package for a new US$522 million stadium for Corinthians was rubber-stamped.
“The decision about the ceremony, which will host the biggest party of the tournament, will be ratified by FIFA,” Silva said. “We will use technical criteria to judge the cities on an objective basis to select the one with the best conditions according to this stage of the tournament.” News of the shortlist will come as a setback to Belo Horizonte, which was initially thought to be a possible destination for the opening ceremony, while Rio was not originally expected to be in the running due to its role as the host of the World Cup final.