FIFA gave the Brazilian cities
of Recife and Salvador a vote of confidence on Wednesday,
confirming them among the six chosen to host matches in next
year's Confederations Cup.
There was doubt over whether the north-eastern cities would
have their new stadiums ready for the tournament, which takes
place in June 2013 and is considered a dry run for the World Cup
the following year.
But FIFA said the two cities, along with the capital
Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro, should
be ready to host matches and gave them until mid-November to
prove they are on track.
"We are quite confident that this Confederations Cup will be
played in the six cities," FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke
said at an announcement ceremony in Rio, which will host the
final match of both the Confederations Cup and the World Cup.
The ceremony marked Valcke's first public appearance in
Brazil since he angered Brazilian officials in March by
criticising the pace of preparations for the World Cup. His
remarks chilled relations between FIFA and Brazil, and led the
Brazilian government to briefly declare him persona non grata.
The Confederations Cup features FIFA's six regional
champions along with the host nation and the World Cup holders.
Spain, Japan, Mexico and Uruguay have all qualified for next
year's tournament. The winners of next month's European
Championship will join them, as will hosts Brazil and the
winners of the Asian and African cups.
Brazil will kick off the tournament in Brasilia's
70,000-seat Mané Garrincha Stadium on June 15 and the final will
be played at Rio's famous Maracanã stadium on June 30.
Brazil was awarded the right to host the 2014 World Cup in
2007 but took almost two years to choose the 12 host cities.
Construction of stadiums and infrastructure has been slow,
and the government last week said that 40 of the 101 major
projects scheduled for the tournament have still to get off the
drawing board. Thirteen of the 31 airport renovations have not
Most of the stadiums should be ready for the World Cup but
some, such as the Sao Paulo arena that will host the opening
match in June 2014, will not be ready for the Confederations
There were similar concerns about the stadiums in Salvador
Although officials say Salvador (pictured) is 60 percent complete and
Recife is 40 percent done, the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper
earlier this month quoted internal FIFA documents saying there
was a "high risk" that Recife will not be ready in time.
Wednesday's announcement was meant to allay those fears.
"We are committed to delivering the greatest FIFA
Confederations Cup ever," said former Brazil striker Ronaldo,
who is one of the local organisers.
"It is a big challenge for the six host cities, who have
worked so hard to come to this point. But their effort will
surely pay off with memorable matches, great celebrations and
the huge international awareness that the tournament will raise
for these cities."
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