SAO PAULO (AP) — The stadium that will host the World Cup opener in Sao Paulo just had goalposts installed. Organizers in the city of Cuiaba are still trying to find a supplier for the seats for their venue.
With less than three months to go before the December deadline established by FIFA for the delivery of the 12 World Cup stadiums, Brazil is working to have all venues ready in time. Local organizers say they'll meet it, but some recent setbacks have prompted concern.
Of the six stadiums yet to be delivered, five were less than 90 percent completed by September, according to the most recent government numbers. The other six venues were ready before this year's Confederations Cup — just barely.
"We are very confident with the timetable presented by the host cities," said Ricardo Trade, CEO of the local World Cup organizing committee. "We don't feel we are running against time to have the stadiums delivered. There are no major obstacles to overcome. Of course, there's always the possibility that something goes wrong, but as we get closer to the deadline, that possibility is diminishing."
Skepticism about Brazil's ability to deliver the stadiums intensified after organizers failed to keep their promise ahead of the Confederations Cup, when only two of the six venues were completed by the original FIFA deadline. Soccer's governing body made it clear that for the World Cup it will not accept the same types of delays that plagued stadium construction before the warm-up tournament.
"If we only delivered two (stadiums) in December last year, this was a lesson too, so we can make an effort to deliver them in December 2013," said Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo, the man in charge of the country's preparations for the World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics. "And we are counting on it."
New obstacles have prompted worries about Brazil's ability to meet the deadline.
At the venue in Curitiba, a labor judge ordered the suspension of construction this week after an inspection team deemed the site unsafe for workers. The Arena da Baixada was less than 80 percent ready a few weeks ago, the lowest rate among the venues still being built, and the work stoppage could become costly if it lasts longer.
Club Atletico Paranaense, in charge of the stadium, said it has already addressed the issues brought forward by the judge. But work won't start again until another inspection, which could happen as soon as Friday.
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