JOHANNESBURG - Sao Paulo's Morumbi
stadium, one of the biggest and best-known in South America, has
been dropped from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the local
organising committee and FIFA said on Wednesday.
The announcement ended months of controversy over the
renovation of the stadium, owned by local club Sao Paulo, and
added to concerns over preparations for the event.
Organisers said the city had failed to provide financial
guarantees to cover the costs of the renovation, estimated at
around 600 million Reais ($333,000).
"The Morumbi is therefore excluded from the 2014 World Cup
project," said the organisers in a statement. "FIFA and the
local organising committee will engage with the city of Sao
Paulo for further discussions."
They said a later announcement would be made as to whether
another stadium in Sao Paulo could replace the Morumbi.
In March, FIFA said they had resolved long-running
differences with Sao Paulo over the project itself which had
previously not met the standards required to host matches in the
knockout stages of the World Cup.
Earlier this week, officials in Sao Paulo, who want the city
to host the opening match among others, said they were
considering the idea of building a completely new stadium.
Brazil was elected unopposed in 2007 to host the tournament
which was earmarked for South America by FIFA under a
short-lived rotation system. The same policy also brought the
current World Cup to Africa.
Brazil faces a huge job to improve its creaking stadiums and
transport system while soaring urban crime is another major
Last month, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said Brazil
was "not walking along the right path" and expressed concern at
the lack of progress, although he has since declined to comment
further, saying he is concentrating on 2010.
Although Brazil is due to host the World Cup in 12 cities,
the government has said the number could be reduced if
The Morumbi, the largest privately-owned stadium in Brazil,
was opened in 1960 and expanded 10 years later. It has a record
attendance of 138,032 although capacity has since been reduced
to 68,000 for safety reasons.
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