The city of Curitiba, a host venue for this summer’s World Cup, had a deadline of February 18th to speed up construction of its stadium or it faces exclusion by FIFA. The Arena da Baixada, where Spain will begin their title defence, is 90% complete but FIFA officials have described the construction timeline as “an emergency.”
FIFA delegates were in Brazil in January touring the host cities. The arena in Curitiba in southern Brazil is home to Atletico Paranaense and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke had voiced concerns for the stadium’s completion calling the situation “very complicated.”
“The stadium is not only late, it is very, very late. If you don’t have a stadium you can’t have games,” he added. “It is an emergency situation.”
According to some local Brazilian newspapers, the Arena da Baixada will not be ready in time and Curitiba will be pulled as a host city, a claim denied by the local organisng committee.
The venue was due to be completed last December but Brazil’s Ministry of Labour suspended construction citing concerns over safety equipment for workers.
However, last month Valcke expressed confidence that plans to speed up construction would ensure the stadium will be ready.
Brazil’s sports minister Aldo Rebelo has said the government will do everything to ensure the stadium is completed in time. Four matches are due to be played at the 43,000-capacity venue: Spain v Australia, Honduras v Ecuador, Iran v Nigeria and Algeria v Russia.
FIFA have stated that a decision on whether Curitiba will remain as a host city will be announced on 18 February.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been critical of Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup with delays on up to six stadiums, while simultaneously stating that he believes the country will be ready.
The Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo which is due to host the opening match will not be completed until April 15 after an accident which killed two workers halted construction. The opening game between Brazil and Croatia is scheduled to be held there on June 12.