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SBD Global/February 20, 2014/Facilities

Relieved World Cup Host City Of Curitiba Admits It Needed 'Ears Pulled' By FIFA

Officials in Curitiba, Brazil have conceded that they "underestimated the demands of hosting World Cup matches" as the venue's status was confirmed on Tuesday after FIFA "had considered ditching" the city over stadium construction delays, according to Mark Gleeson of REUTERS. City official Reginaldo Cordeiro said, "To (still) be here as a host city after the moment of crisis we had to face is great. We have worked daily to accelerate the construction schedule to recover lost time." Cordeiro and state World Cup Coordinator Mario Celso Cunha said that FIFA's threats to take away the four scheduled games at the Arena da Baixada "had led to an overhaul of the work schedule and a new financing model for the stadium, owned by the Atletico Paranaense club." Cordeiro: "It was good that (FIFA General Secretary) Jerome Valcke came and tugged at our ears. It was good for us to wake up" (REUTERS, 2/18).

LACK OF INTEREST: BLOOMBERG's Tariq Panja reported Curitiba "faces another problem: a lack of interest in the games that will be played there." The city will stage four first-round group games, starting with Iran against Nigeria. That will be followed by Honduras-Ecuador, Australia-Spain and Algeria-Russia. Of the group, only defending champion Spain "is considered among the top teams." The fixture list "has hurt demand for games." Horst Schmidt, CEO of the 2006 World Cup and a consultant to the 2014 ticketing operation, said, "We have to do a lot of work to promote the matches there. Perhaps because of the profile of matches the demand isn’t the same as other venues" (BLOOMBERG, 2/19).
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