28 January 2014
Severe construction delays at one of the World Cup stadiums in Brazil have raised the prospect of it being abandoned as a venue for the tournament.
Fifa has warned that work at the Arena da Baixada stadium in the city of Curitiba is so far behind schedule that it could be excluded unless work speeds up.
"To be very honest, the situation as it stands is not ideal," said Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke last week after a visit to the venue. "The stadium is very delayed and well outside the delivery schedule to ensure best use by Fifa and the Fifa World Cup."
Mr Valcke said a new steering committee would be created between Fifa, the Local Organising Committee, Curitiba city council, the Parana state government and the local football club to supervise work on the project, and that a decision on its inclusion would be made on 18 February.
Workers install seats at the unfinished Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil (Paulino Menezes/Ministério do Esporte)
Luis Fernandes, executive secretary of Brazil’s Ministry of Sport, said an extra $16m of public funds would be injected into the project to refurbish the historic, privately owned stadium, and that a third working shift would be introduced to accelerate work.
The Baixada stadium is scheduled to host four group games in the World Cup: Spain v. Australia on June 23, followed by Honduras v. Ecuador, Russia v. Algeria, and Iran v. Nigeria.
Work on this ground was delayed in October last year when a judge ruled that workers’ safety wasÂ at risk. It was designed byÂ Carlos Arcos and is being built by CYD,Â Schlaich Bergermann und Partner.