/ Soccer

Brazil in "race against time" for World Cup

Updated: Friday, 14 Oct 2011 17:18

The Maracana Stadium - One of the projects for the 2014 World Cup that looks like being ready in time
The Maracana Stadium - One of the projects for the 2014 World Cup that looks like being ready in time

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has admitted several host cities are in a "race against time" to deliver on the promise of finalised stadia and infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup.

Football's world ruling body FIFA has warned Brazil several times over delays in the progress of construction projects expected to be ready for the four-yearly football extravaganza.

A report by the Getulio Vargas Foundation and the consultancy Ernst & Young last month said Brazil needs more than $11 billion in investment to fix up roads, boost hotel capacity, reinforce security and develop its telecommunications network.

At the time the government admitted that work had not yet started on five of 13 airports that need expanding to welcome millions of tourists.

In August, Rousseff pledged that all venues would be ready, and last month pledged that nine of the 12 World Cup stadia would be ready by December 2012.

The President admitted on Thursday that the pressure is on.

"We're in a race against time. In fact, we should have anticipated urban growth and invested during the 1980s and 90s," Rousseff said on Thursday night in Curitiba in the south of the country.

Earlier this month Rousseff had what was later described as a positive meeting with FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke to discuss the 2014 World Cup.

Valcke said that both sides were committed to ensuring that work progressed on schedule to ensure the best tournament possible.

"Either we work together and we arrive at a situation where everyone is a winner or we don't work together and we're all losers," said Valcke.

Rousseff gave the green light to all of the most costly projects currently being undertaken, mainly the improvement of underground, bus and train networks, in all the host cities.

During her visit on Thursday the President announced she had granted a loan of one million reais ($571 million) to the state of Parana for the construction of an underground system.

Earlier this year renovation work on Rio's famed Maracana Stadium - the likely venue for the World Cup final - stalled due to a strike, however a judge ordered workers to get back on the job.

Brazil will also host the Confederations Cup in 2013 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

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