FIFA assured over World Cup opening venue

An emergency meeting between the world soccer governing body and Brazilian club Corinthians has ended amicably after the venue was ratified to meet a December 2013 deadline.
FIFA has been given assurances that the Arena Corinthians will be completed in time to host matches at World Cup 2014.

The venue has come under scrutiny due to the drawn-out process behind its construction - which began in May 2011 - and the world soccer governing body scheduled an emergency meeting with its owners Corinthians to address the current standoff.

There was a risk that the fixtures scheduled to take place at the stadium, including next summer's opening match, could be switched to another city if FIFA felt the December 2013 handover deadline would not be met, but talks between the two parties have proved fruitful.

"We are very satisfied with the meeting and with the fact that we could talk face to face. Sao Paulo will be an example for other cities to deliver the stadium in time, by Dec. 31," FIFA secretary Jerome Valcke told reporters.

"The discussion with Corinthians was very fruitful since we understand we both want the same goal, to have the stadium ready. It is also a special project because of the legacy it leaves for the east zone of Sao Paulo.”

Meanwhile, former Corinthians president - now club representative - Andres Sanchez added: “This was an excellent meeting. There was some misunderstanding but Sao Paulo and Corinthians are aware of their responsibilities.

"I have always been sure that we would host the opening game of the 2014 World Cup and now I am even more. The schedule agreed with FIFA will be respected.”