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Brazil struggles with its World Cup preparations

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 14, 2014 at 10:52 am •  Published: April 14, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — Although expectations are high for Brazil's football team at the World Cup, it's already clear the country didn't do a very good job preparing for the tournament.

With only two months before the opener, there are serious concerns about the country's readiness. Doubts remain about whether stadiums will be finished in time, and it's highly unlikely all promised infrastructure work will be completed.

Organizers will also have to worry about the widespread street protests that are expected during the tournament with demonstrators already unhappy about corruption, poor public services and the billions of dollars being spent to host the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Even though Brazil was awarded the World Cup in 2007, local organizers are scrambling to complete all the necessary work. FIFA is more than worried, saying it's "a race" to make sure the country delivers everything it promised.

"Brazil will be a well-done World Cup," FIFA President Sepp Blatter said, then criticized local authorities for taking too long to start work projects. "Some of the delays is because there was no work for years. But we're on the way now to finishing the stadiums."

Three stadiums remain under construction, including the one hosting the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12 in Sao Paulo.

All six venues that were expected to be ready by the end of last year missed FIFA's deadline. The other six had already been used during the Confederations Cup, but four of those also weren't ready when expected. One of the host cities, Curitiba, was nearly excluded from the competition because of the delays at its stadium.

Because the venues took so long to be ready, FIFA is now racing to install the temporary structures that are crucial for the media, sponsors and technical teams. Some of the host cities didn't want to pay for them even though they signed contracts saying they would.

The northeastern city of Recife didn't want to pay for its fanfest, which allows those without tickets to watch matches in public areas for free, prompting FIFA to say it could sue the city for breach of contract. It remains unclear if the event will happen.

"All is written, all is signed and all the responsibilities or duties for each party are very well known," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said.

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