Rio de Janeiro state officials have admitted that they face a difficult task in delivering the Maracana stadium for the FIFA Confederations Cup, but are confident that the drawing up of a new roadmap will aid the project.
FIFA, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the federal government on Friday met with the State of Rio de Janeiro and the construction company Odebrecht to discuss the Maracana, including a roadmap for the delivery of each of the key elements of the stadium. The meeting came as FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke on Thursday revealed that the Rio authorities had given him guarantees that the Maracana will be able to host Confederations Cup games in June, but admitted that there is “no plan B” if the venue is not ready.
Regis Fichtner, Chief of Staff of the State of Rio de Janeiro, who represented Governor Sergio Cabral, reconfirmed on Friday that the iconic stadium will be ready to host its first event on April 27. “We know we do not have an easy schedule but Maracana will be ready to stage test events as of April 27, 2013,” said Fichtner. “In total we will organise two closed and one major public test events ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup, to make sure all operational aspects at the renovated stadium will have undergone detailed testing including full capacity operation on June 2 at the Brazil versus England match.”
The Maracana is the lynchpin of Brazil’s staging of the 2014 World Cup and is undergoing a major redevelopment. Originally built for Brazil’s staging of the 1950 World Cup, the Maracana will host seven games in the 2014 edition of the event, more than any other venue. The US$458 million redevelopment project will see a new stadium formed within the shell of the original epic facility. It was originally due to reopen on December 31, but is now set to stage its first game, the friendly between Brazil and England on June 2, before its first competitive match, the Confederations Cup clash between Mexico and Italy, on June 16. Speaking at Friday’s meeting, Odebrecht CEO and president Benedicto B. da Silva Junior maintained the company’s commitment to meeting its April 27 delivery deadline, adding that 6,500 people are working on a daily basis to finish the stadium. Luis Fernandes, Brazil’s Deputy Sports Minister, said: “The meeting elevated the level of integration between all parties, which gives us confidence that all timelines will be kept, as agreed on by everyone involved. We are very satisfied with the outcome and the details presented, which deal with all the complex processes to prepare this iconic and historic stadium Maracana as a perfect stage for the FIFA Confederations Cup.”