FIFA orders World Cup stadium break

Rio De Janeiro, April 1: Brazil’s World Cup stadiums will not stage matches for up to three weeks before the tournament begins, under a ruling by football’s governing body FIFA.

FIFA ordered local matches scheduled at the country’s 12 World Cup stadiums from May 20 to June 1 to be shifted, reported Xinhua citing an e-mail sent to Brazil’s state federations and published by sports news service Globoesporte Monday.

The Brazilian championship will begin a six-week recess on June 1 to accommodate football’s showpiece event.

“(We) have been adamant on this issue to date, making no exceptions,” FIFA’s competition director Virgilio Elisio said in the e-mail.

The decision follows complaints by Brazilian players about the state of the country’s World Cup pitches.

Among venues to be criticised include Rio’s Maracana stadium and Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia.

Sao Paulo’s Itaquerao stadium will host the tournament opener between Brazil and Croatia on June 12. The final will be played at the Maracana in Rio July 13.

IANS