RIO DE JANEIRO - Organisers of the 2014
World Cup in Brazil received a boost on Wednesday when city
officials in Natal, one of two host cities still to start work
on a stadium for the tournament, said they had received a single
bid for its construction and hoped to start work next month.
"The documents of the only participants will be analysed
immediately," the state government of Rio Grande do Norte said
of the OAS construction company's bid to build the Arena das
Dunas after the process closed on Wednesday. "The analysis
should be concluded by April 15."
Brazil's preparations for the tournament, due to be staged
in 12 venues, have been hit by delays in the building of stadia
and infrastructure, with airports one of the major concerns.
By far the biggest worry remains Sao Paulo, where it is
still uncertain how the planned Itaquerao stadium, to be built
by the Corinthians club, will be financed.
Corinthians had originally planned to build a 48,000
capacity stadium but this would have to be increased to 65,000
if Sao Paulo is to stage the opening match.
There is still no confirmed start date for the stadium and
Brazil's national association of architects and constructors
(Sindaeco) also warned the planning permission still needed to
be obtained for work to start.
"Corinthians have promised to start work on its stadium but
the project is not complete and the necessary permissions for
construction have not been issued," Sindaeco said in a report.
Despite this, government officials last week said they were
certain Sao Paulo would stage the opening match and local
organisers officially named the stadium as the city's venue on
In Zurich, local organising committee chairman Ricardo
Teixeira brushed aside the problems after meeting FIFA president
Sepp Blatter and secretary general Jerome Valcke.
"With the... stadium contract finalised and all FIFA World
Cup stadiums now confirmed, we can focus on the operational
aspects of the tournament preparations with special attention to
our first major event on Brazilian soil - the preliminary draw
in less than four months," he told FIFA's official website.
The draw for the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition is
due to be held in Rio de Janeiro in July.
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