Three World Cup stadiums remain unfinished as FIFA visit Brazil
FIFA is starting a new round of inspections at World Cup stadiums in Brazil. With kick-off less than three months away, host cities are in a race against time to be ready for the tournament.
Operational inspections in six stadiums began Thursday and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke is expected in Rio de Janeiro next week for a series of meetings to discuss preparations.
Technical teams from football's governing body and the local organising committee visited the Itaquerão Stadium in São Paulo on Thursday and will move on to Porto Alegre, Manaus, Natal, Cuiabá and Curitiba in the coming days.
"This inspection tour will be fundamental to consolidate operational plans and for each area to confirm the operations they have planned over the last few years," said Tiago Pães, the operations manager for stadiums at the local organizing committee.
FIFA already knows that at least two stadiums won't be ready until about a month before the tournament starts. The Itaquerão Stadium in São Paulo will be completed in mid-May, along with the Arena da Baixada in the southern city of Curitiba.
Cuiabá also doesn't have its stadium ready, with concern over whether there will be enough time to install the temporary structures needed for technical teams, sponsors and media.
"This is the last occasion for the organizers to take stock of the operational preparations before the respective FIFA World Cup installations begin to be implemented in all 12 host cities," FIFA said Thursday in a statement.