FIFA executive optimistic after World Cup visit

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm •  Published: January 20, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — A top FIFA executive doesn't expect the World Cup opener in Sao Paulo to be affected by the construction delays at the stadium where a crane collapse killed two workers last year.

Secretary General Jerome Valcke visited the Itaquerao stadium Monday to begin the governing body's first inspection tour of the year leading to the World Cup in June. He will visit three other host cities before meeting with local organizers in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.

"In a way I would say the pressure is a little bit bigger here," Valcke said at a news conference at the Itaquerao. "It's the first game. It has to be a success. The world will be watching."

He said he was satisfied with the work at the venue and expects there will be enough time for test events after its completion in April. The World Cup begins June 12 with Brazil playing Croatia.

"We will do all that we can to make sure this opening game is a success," Valcke said.

The venue was among the six that missed the December deadline established by FIFA for all World Cup stadiums. Brazil promised to deliver all 12 by then but only the six that were used during the Confederations Cup were ready. Four of those had already missed the deadline for the warmup tournament this year.

In November, a crane collapsed while hoisting a 500-ton roofing structure at the Itaquerao, leaving two workers dead and causing significant construction delays.

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