RIO DE JANEIRO - Brasilia has hit back at
suggestions Sao Paulo will host the opening game of the 2014
World Cup, quoting a letter from football's world governing body
FIFA which says the contest is still open.
"We have all the technical attributes and we are meeting all
of FIFA's demands," said Federal District governor Rogerio Rosso
on his administration's website.
"We are going to keep working to bring the opening of the
tournament to Brasilia."
Earlier this month, local organising committee president
Ricardo Teixeira said he had "absolute certainty" Sao Paulo
would host the opening match. However, Rosso published a letter
sent by FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.
"Regarding the selection of the opening match venue, we
certainly appreciate your concerns," it said. "Please be assured
that no final decisions have been taken.
"It is worth clarifying, however, that the decision of the
opening match venue will ultimately be taken by the local
organising committee (LOC).
"We are confident that all key considerations will be
factored before a final decision is reached."
The Brazilian capital will stage its matches at a remodelled
version of the Mane Garrincha stadium, with a capacity of
Brasilia is sometimes used to host international matches but
is something of a backwater in football terms and the city does
not currently have a team in the Brazilian first division.
Confusion has surrounded Sao Paulo's participation in the
World Cup since June when the LOC dropped plans to use the
Morumbi stadium after the city failed to provide financial
guarantees for the cost of its renovation.
Since then, hopes have been pinned on the planned new
Corinthians stadium in the sprawling eastern suburbs of the
city. The club, one of the biggest in Brazil, announced in
September that it would build a 48,000 capacity-stadium.
However, FIFA demands a capacity of at least 65,000 for a
stadium to stage the opening World Cup match, which would
increase the cost and has become the subject of negotiations
between the club and organising committee.
Another worry is that Corinthians have said their stadium
would only be finished by the end of 2013 - too late for the
Confederations Cup which is held one year before the World Cup
and is used as a dress rehearsal.
Brazil was elected unopposed in 2007 to host the tournament
earmarked for South America by FIFA under a short-lived rotation
system which also took this year's World Cup to Africa.
The country faces a huge job to improve its creaking
stadiums and transport system while urban violence and social
problems are also concerns.
At least 30 people have been killed in the last five days in
Rio de Janeiro in battles between police and slum-based drug
This month's Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo was marred by
attempted armed attacks on world champion Jenson Button and a
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