Visiting FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says he is “satisfied” over preparations at the World Cup venue of Cuiaba in central Brazil, despite 15,000 seats still having to be fitted.
“I am certain Cuiaba will be ready. There are no big problems here. I don’t want to compare with other stadiums. I am satisfied,” added Valcke, adding as long as the seats are installed on the due date he would be happy with that.
With only 50 days to go to the start of the event, Brazil is racing to complete preparations.
Fatal accidents at Sao Paulo, Manaus and Brasilia have marred preparations for Brazil’s first World Cup since 1950.
Valcke had earlier this week expressed some concerns over work remaining at Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena and at Curitiba, which he granted a reprieve in February having earlier threatened to exclude the venue.
On Tuesday, he indicated Sao Paulo would only be ready “at the last minute” for the June 12 World Cup curtain-raiser after a full capacity test next month.
“Sao Paulo will be ready for the opening match,” Valcke insisted Tuesday, while insisting there was not a minute to lose as “we are running against time.”
Valcke also said Sao Paulo would host a first official test, a Brazilian league game, with full capacity on May 17 or 18.
But with FIFA normally wanting three tests at venues Valcke indicated that meant Sao Paulo faced “a very tight schedule.”
Having come through a first test game on April 2, Cuiaba is due to host a second match Saturday before a 30,000 crowd for a second division match featuring Rio side Vasco de Gama.
Local authorities say all will be ready by May 5 ahead of an official inauguration slated for May 7 or 14.
The Pantanal Arena is slated to host four World Cup matches — Chile v Australia on June 13, Russia v South Korea on June 17, Nigeria v Bosnia on June 21 and Japan’s game with Colombia on June 24.