SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke expressed his concern about preparations at three of the 12 World Cup stadiums during his final inspection of host cities.
During a two-week trip that ended Thursday, Valcke sent warnings to organizers in Natal, Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo, which will host the World Cup's opening match in two weeks.
He said it was a "race against the clock" in Natal and there was a lot "yet to be done" in Porto Alegre. In Sao Paulo, FIFA requested a second test event at the delayed Itaquerao Stadium that will host the Brazil-Croatia match on June 12. It is unlikely, however, that the venue will be tested at full capacity.
Local authorities are not expected to allow the sale of tickets at the test event for some of the temporary seating that was recently added to the venue, meaning the first time the 68,000-seat venue will be at capacity will likely be during the World Cup match.
Valcke said he was pleased with the work underway in the other nine host cities, including Curitiba, which earlier this year was nearly excluded from the tournament because of chronic delays.
Valcke's final stop on Thursday was in the northeastern city of Salvador, where he said there was "no time to waste" but praised the commitment of local organizers to make sure everything will be ready in time.
The game in Salvador on June 13 will be a much-anticipated rematch of the 2010 final, when Spain beat the Netherlands for the title in South Africa.
"All must be perfect that day," Valcke said on Twitter. "Pleased with Salvador's commitment to work with our on-site team to finalize remaining works for fans, media & teams."
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