RIO DE JANEIRO - Refurbishment work on
Rio de Janeiro's giant Maracana stadium for the 2014 World Cup
in Brazil began on Tuesday six months behind schedule.
The work, budgeted at 705.6 million reais started with the removal of the seats in the lower ring of the
stands in the stadium, the likely venue for the final.
Renovations will see the stadium's capacity reduced by more
than half to 45,000 for the next 50 days and then closed.
The work is scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2012, in
time to stage the Confederations Cup in Rio the following year.
The changes to the stadium, the biggest in the world when
it was built for the 1950 World Cup finals, include redesigning
the lower ring, new access ramps, an increase in the roof over
the stands and a reduction in the size of the pitch.
It is its second major refurbishment in recent years after
being closed for almost a year before the 2007 Pan-American
Games, a 130 million reais project that fell short of FIFA
demands for the 2014 World Cup.
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