Inspectors from the International Olympic Committee are echoing FIFA’s concerns over 2014 World Cup works.
Maracana renovations as seen June 1. (Getty Images)
Maracana, the stadium for opening and closing ceremonies as well as the football final during the Rio 2016 Olympics, will stage the last match of FIFA’s showpiece in little more than two years’ time.
As of last week, it’s also set to stage the conclusion to next year’s Confederations Cup, an event seen as a dry run for the following year’s World Cup.
While the IOC didn’t visit Maracana as part of its annual inspection this week, the $500m-plus renovation project remains a significant concern for both FIFA and the Olympic organisers.
“The [main] concern for us was to make sure that everybody understands they will really have to work on the teamwork between the different levels of government and Rio 2016,” the IOC’s Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli told INSIDER.
In a statement on Games preparations as a whole, the IOC made a point of stressing there was no time to waste to deliver projects on time, echoing comments made in recent months by FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke about World Cup stadia and transport infrastructure works.
“With this important and complex piece of work coming to a conclusion, it is becoming apparent that the timelines for delivery are already very tight and the amount of work to be completed is considerable,” the IOC said.
“The commission was also confident that there remains sufficient time to deliver what is needed.”
Rousseff Signs World Cup Bill Into Law
Beer will be on tap at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
According to an AFP report, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff signed off Wednesday on legislation that had long been one of the biggest sources of friction between FIFA chiefs and Brazil 2014.
The measure was passed by Brazil’s lower house in March and its senate in May but only now becomes law thanks to Rousseff’s blessing.
Repeated delays in passing the bill, including the financial and legal guarantees for the tournament, led to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke’s comment in March that Brazil needed a “kick up the backside” to accelerate World Cup preparations.
Wednesday’s news means that Brazil’s ban on alcohol sales at football stadia will be relaxed for the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 showpiece, allowing FIFA to protect the rights of its beer sponsor, Budweiser-maker Anheuser-Busch.
The legislation also includes a provision to discount tickets for students and pensioners for games of the Brazilian national team, regulations for the exploitation of commercial space in and around stadia and the sale of official FIFA merchandise.
Belo Horizonte Welcomes Confederations Cup
Mayor Marcio Lacerda says he’s “delighted” with Belo Horizonte’s role in the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013.
Brazil’s third largest metropolitan area was among six host cities confirmed last week by FIFA for the World Cup dry run.
“We are well advanced in all of our preparations, including transport, hospitality and of course the main stadium,” Lacerda said in a statement.
Mineirão Stadium will stage three matches during the 2013 dress rehearsal and six during the 2014 showpiece, including one semifinal.
By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson
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