(WFI) FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says Brazil 2014 World Cup preparations are in good shape but admits world football’s governing body still faces “many problems” in delivering projects in time for the tournament.

“We are working very well with the organising committee and Ricardo Teixeira,” Valcke told delegates at the FIFA Congress in Zurich today.

“We have the full support of the new president of the country [Dilma Rousseff] which gives us confidence in the many problems we have to face which are airports, accommodation and transportation.”

Valcke, who is overseeing World Cup preparations as he did for the 2010 edition in South Africa, has in the past year been hugely critical of Brazil’s organisers for the slow pace of preparations.

Work on upgrades to the airports infrastructure in the 12 host cities remain’s FIFA’s chief concern.

The Brazilian government on Tuesday announced plans to form public-private consortiums to revamp and operate at least three airports. New terminals would be built at the Viracopos and Guarulhos airports in Sao Paulo state and in the capital Brasilia.

Earlier this month, the government said concessions would be offered to firms willing to build and operate passenger terminals for the football competition.

Around $3 billion is being spent to upgrade Brazil’s airports prior to the World Cup. Up to one million visitors are expected for the month-long tournament.

Financial issues and construction delays have also affected the timetable for delivery of the host stadia.

“We have been able to finalise with most of the cities about their stadiums,” Valcke confirmed to FIFA Congress delegates.

Brazil’s sports minister Orlando Silva is driving the government initiative to speed up work on World Cup projects.

“The government has concluded, after meeting with state governors, that it will be necessary to accelerate preparations for the 2014 World Cup,” Silva was quoted in a Reuters report on Wednesday.

Sao Paulo’s stadium project has proved to be the most problematic to get off the ground.

After a plan to renovate Corinthians’ Morumbi stadium, there was a delay in the city delivering an alternative plan to ensure South America’s largest city was included as a World Cup venue.

Work only began on Monday on the Itaquera stadium in the east of the city. But it won’t be ready in time for the 2013 Confederations Cup, the major test event for the 2014 FIFA showpiece.

Sao Paulo still hopes to host the opening match of the 2014 tournament.

Valcke said today that the dates of the 2014 World Cup would be finalised at a meeting with tournament organisers in Rio on July 29, the day before the preliminary draw for the competition.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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