Fri, Mar 08, 2013 - Page 20 News List

FIFA’s Valcke seeks to ease concerns about Maracana

AFP, RIO DE JANEIRO

An aerial view shows the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday after flooding caused by heavy rain.

Photo: Reuters

Rio’s emblematic Maracana stadium will be ready for June’s Confederations Cup in Brazil, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said yesterday, despite concerns over flooding and delays in reconstruction work.

The famous old stadium in Rio de Janeiro that hosted the final match of the 1950 World Cup has been undergoing a makeover since December last year.

There had been concern that reconstruction was falling behind schedule, particularly following heavy rains in the city on Tuesday night that left parts of the site flooded and forced a planned FIFA inspection on Wednesday to be shelved.

However, Valcke took to his Twitter account to allay concerns.

“Delighted that Rio’s governor, [Sergio] Cabral, reconfirmed in our meeting that the Maracana will be opened on April 27, 2013,” he wrote on @jeromevalcke.

The Brazilian government claims says the stadium remains on course to host matches not just at the Confederations Cup later this year, but also the World Cup next year.

The official presentation of the Maracana to FIFA was supposed to take place last month, but was postponed until May 24, three weeks before the start of the Confederations Cup on June 15.

The first match in the Maracana will be a friendly between Brazil and England on June 2 while the first Confederations Cup match to be held there will be on June 16 between Mexico and Italy.

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