City of Curitiba could be dropped from World Cup: FIFA

Rio de Janeiro, Jan 22: World football’s governing body FIFA has warned Curitiba it could be stripped of its World Cup host city status due to ongoing stadium construction delays.

Speaking after an inspection of the Arena da Baixada Tuesday, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke described the stadium’s progress as “very complicated”, reports Xinhua.

“Let’s be honest. We do not like the current state of the stadium. This is not only delayed, it is way behind schedule,” he said.

FIFA will decide whether to keep the venue on the tournament schedule following the next visit Feb 18, according to Valcke.

Local officials say Arena da Baixada is 90 percent complete, the least advanced of Brazil’s six unfinished World Cup stadiums.

FIFA and the Parana state government have pledged $17 million to fast-track construction work at the venue.

Four matches have been scheduled at the 42,000-capacity stadium, including Spain-Australia, Honduras-Ecuador, Iran-Nigeria and Algeria-Russia.

The World Cup will begin June 12 with the Brazil-Croatia Group A fixture at Sao Paulo’s Itaquerao stadium. The final will be played at Rio’s Maracana Stadium July 13.