SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA's top World Cup official is satisfied with the pace of work at the stadium in the western Brazilian city of Cuiaba even though a delay in the delivery of seats prompted the venue's inauguration to be postponed this week.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said Wednesday that local organizers shouldn't face major problems finalizing the Arena Pantanal in time for the World Cup. The stadium is one of the three yet to be completed less than two months before the tournament's opener.
Valcke said it's important all seats are installed by May 5, but he is "fine" and "happy" with what he saw at the venue that will host four World Cup matches.
Organizers canceled this weekend's official inauguration because some 5,000 seats were not delivered on time for the 41,000-capacity stadium. Officials said they hope to officially open the venue in mid-May, about a month before the World Cup opener. The venue staged its first official match earlier this month, but only half of the seats were in place at the time.
"There is no major issue," Valcke said of the Arena Pantanal. "It's just work to be finished and just to make sure that we can run some test events and we can be ready for the time we will receive the stadium from the city. I'm fine, I'm happy with Cuiaba and as long as we keep this date of the 5th of May for all the seats installation and some additional work which has to be done."
Valcke began a tour of host cities with "potential issues" regarding their preparations on Tuesday.
In his visit to Sao Paulo, he said organizers don't have "a minute" waste to make sure the Itaquerao stadium is ready to host the World Cup opener on June 12. In the southern city of Curitiba, where 27,000 seats are yet to be installed at the Arena da Baixada, he said there is "still lots to do inside and outside" the stadium.
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