COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) — The damaged stadium in Sao Paulo won't hold its first match until less than two months before the World Cup is to open there.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter set a new deadline Thursday following a fatal construction accident at Arena Corinthians last week. He told a news conference that April 14 or 15 is the expected delivery date.
"For the time being there is no Plan B," Blatter said, answering speculation FIFA might seek a replacement stadium or move matches to other cities despite many tickets already being sold.
On June 12, the repaired stadium is to host the sold-out opening match featuring host nation Brazil, following a lavish opening ceremony watched by some heads of state among the invited guests.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke later said the mid-April target was for the first match to test the stadium operations.
The governing body has had to compromise on its original demand that all 12 World Cup stadiums be delivered by the end of 2013 to allow for a minimum three test events.
Arena Corinthians was set to meet its construction deadline before the Nov. 27 accident. Two construction workers died when a crane crashed and damaged part of the stadium. Work has resumed after a three-day period of mourning at the site.
Two more stadiums will be construction sites into 2014. The southern city of Curitiba and the wetlands city of Cuiaba will not deliver their stadiums until late January or February.