Maracana Stadium will host the final of the 2014 World Cup. (Getty Images)

(WFI) Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium facelift to meet FIFA’s standards for the 2014 World Cup is already 20 per cent over budget, say officials.

A total of 500 million reais ($ 281 million) will be needed to complete the project, 20 percent higher than the original estimate of 430 million reais it was announced Thursday.

Rio’s Secretary of Sports and Tourism Marcia Lins told reporters that the adjustment was made after a more detailed analysis by experts.

“It will only be possible to have the final figures after completion of technical feasibility studies,” Lins was quoted by Reuters.

Renovations of the famous stadium will begin in March and continue until December 2012, Lins said. The stadium will continue to host events until September 2010.

Its outside façade will remain the same but workers will install a roof. Stadium capacity will drop from 88,000 to 83,000.

Part of the renovations will also include restaurants and bars. Officials hope a revamped Maracana with 21 st century amenities will jump start economic development in north Rio.

“Before, stadiums were practically just large pitches but today they are multi-disciplined arenas,” said Lins.

Maracana is classified as a historical monument. It was completed shortly before the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The stadium was the site of one of the most notorious defeats Brazilian football history. A world record crowd – officially 200,000, but reckoned to be larger – watched Uruguay defeat Brazil 2-1 in the deciding game of the 1950 World Cup. The defeat — known as the “Maracana Blow” or “Maracanaço” — prevented Brazil from winning the cup on home soil, and not for another eight years would the country finally lift the Jules Rimet trophy.

Written by Sam Steinberg

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