SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA is starting a new round of inspections at World Cup stadiums in Brazil as host cities race against the clock to get ready for the tournament that opens in less than three months.
Operational inspections in six stadiums began Thursday, and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke is expected in the country next week for a series of meetings to discuss preparations.
Three stadiums are not yet finished, and infrastructure work in many of the 12 host cities remains far from completed.
FIFA already knows that at least two stadiums won't be ready until about a month before the tournament starts, including the one hosting the opener between Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12.
As FIFA's officials gathered in Zurich for a meeting of the executive committee, technical teams from football's governing body and the local organizing committee visited the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo on Thursday. They will also visit the cities of Porto Alegre, Manaus, Natal, Cuiaba and Curitiba in the coming days.
"This inspection tour will be fundamental to consolidate operational plans and for each area to confirm the operations they have planned over the last few years," said Tiago Paes, the operations manager for stadiums at the local organizing committee.
Constructors at the Itaquerao in Sao Paulo said they will finish their work by April 15, but Corinthians, the team building the stadium, has already said that not everything will be fully ready, including the VIP areas, some finishing details on the roof and the installation of the large screens. The team is responsible for completing most of those tasks.
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