Brazil sports minister Aldo Rebelo (Getty)

Rebelo’s Expresses World Cup Concerns

Brazil’s sports minister Aldo Rebelo has sounded alarm bells over the pace of construction at six of the World Cup venues remaining to be completed for next year’s event. Sao Paulo’s new stadium, which will host the opening match, is reportedly 84% complete. But the five other venues are said to be less than 80% finished. They are in: Manaus, Curitiba, Cuiaba, Porto Alegre and Natal. FIFA requirements say the venues must be ready by the end of the year.

“This must be seen as a warning. We cannot keep on the same rhythm, or we will not deliver them on time,” Rebelo told a senate hearing. “It is possible to intensify. We are able to meet the deadlines, but it should be noted that it will require us to speed up the construction.”

FIFA Unveils Venues for NZ U-20 World Cup

New Zealand PM John Key and Frank van Hattum, president of New Zealand Football, were among the dignatories at the unveiling of seven host cities and stadiums for the tournament at an Auckland ceremony. They are: Auckland (North Harbour Stadium), Christchurch (Christchurch Stadium), Dunedin (Otago Stadium), Hamilton (Waikato Stadium), New Plymouth (Stadium Taranaki), Wellington (Wellington Regional Stadium) and Whangarei (Northland Event Centre).

It will be the third time FIFA’s second-biggest men’s tournament will be held on Oceanian soil after Australia hosted the competition in 1981 and 1993. The event will take place from 30 May to 21 June 2015.

UEFA Disqualifies Ukrainian Club

FC Metalist Kharkiv, disqualified from 2013/14 UEFA competition this week following a match-fixing investigation, have been replaced by Greek side PAOK FC, with Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC qualifying for the UEFA Europa League proper. It means
PAOK FC, eliminated by Metalist in the third qualifying round, will now face FC Schalke 04 in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, with the first leg to be played on 21 August in Germany. Metalist have said they are appealing the sanction at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). PAOK will not be replaced in the UEFA Europa League play-offs so their
opponents, Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC, thus qualify directly for the group
stage.

Man Utd TV Deal in New Zealand

Manchester United and Sky New Zealand have announced a three-year agreement to bring its dedicated TV channel, MUTV to the country. Sky is the leading paid TV service in New Zealand with 120 dedicated channels. Claiming a cumulative audience of close to 1.5 million for United matches in New Zealand, Sky said it was confident MUTV would be a big hit. United’s MUTV service is now available to fans across 57 territories worldwide.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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