Brazil Inaugurates Castelão Stadium Ahead Of Confederations Cup, World Cup
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff unveiled a plaque marking the completion of the renovation of the Castelão stadium in Fortaleza. The 63,903-seat arena is Brazil's first 2014 World Cup stadium to be inaugurated and will host six World Cup and three 2013 Confederations Cup matches. Dilma said that the arena makes all Brazilians proud, and demonstrates to the world that Brazil is capable of staging the biggest sporting events in the coming years (SECOM). The BBC noted FIFA had "repeatedly expressed concern" over World Cup delays, including at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium. Castelão and the Maracana are among six venues that must be ready to host Confederations Cup matches next June. The Castelão was renovated at a cost of $250M. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said, "This is a very special day for us at FIFA because it marks the two great events that will take place in Brazil in the coming years, the Confederations Cup and the World Cup." In recent years, FIFA officials have criticized Brazilian preparations with General Secretary Jérôme Valcke at one point saying Brazil needed "a kick up the backside." But in recent weeks, FIFA officials have "sounded more upbeat," saying that they expect all 12 stadiums to be ready on time (BBC, 12/17).