Fifa concerned about World Cup stadium delay

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Fifa has expressed alarm about repeated delays in readying the Brasilia stadium for the Confederations Cup in June and next year's World Cup.

The inauguration of Brasilia's 71,000-seat Mane Garrincha arena, initially set for Sunday, was postponed until May 18 because of problems in preparing the pitch.

It was the fifth delay in delivering the stadium, where the Confederations Cup is to kick off on June 15, with a Brazil-Japan match.

At a meeting with Brasilia federal district governor Agnelo Queiroz Tuesday, officials of Fifa and Brazil's 2014 World Cup Organising Committee (COL) expressed alarm.

"Fifa and COL expressed concern about the tight deadlines and the short time available for tests to ensure the operational success of events such as Fifa's Confederations Cup," the two bodies said in a statement sent to AFP on Wednesday.

Between the delivery date and the opening of the Confederations Cup, Fifa wants at least two test events to verify that everything is running smoothly.

Fifa and COL said they have scheduled a new series of inspections of the Brasilia arena in two weeks and announced they would step up daily monitoring of the renovation work.

And they warned that "delays like those observed will not be tolerated for stadiums that will host the World Cup, which involves a significantly greater number of arenas, teams, fans, matches, journalists and TV viewers".

Of the six host stadiums for the Confederations Cup, four have been completed, although only those of Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza met the December deadline initially set by Fifa.

The stadiums of Salvador and Recife were completed this month.

Rio's iconic Maracana arena is to be delivered on April 27.

Fifa's deadline for six other stadiums hosting next year's World Cup is December 31.

Eight countries are competing in the June 15-30 Confederations Cup: Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Uruguay, Japan, Italy, Nigeria and Tahiti.