FIFA's Valcke Says There Is No 'Plan B' If Maracana Stadium Not Ready
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke admitted that there was "no plan B" if Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium is not ready for June's Confederations Cup, according to the AFP. There had been concern that reconstruction was falling behind schedule, particularly following heavy rains in the city on Tuesday night that left parts of the site flooded and forced a planned FIFA inspection on Wednesday to be shelved. Valcke: "We've already sold tickets for the six stadiums -- there is no possibility to change this, there is no plan B." The local government claims that 87% of the rebuilding work "has been completed and the stadium remains on course to host matches not just at the Confederations Cup in June but also the World Cup in 2014" (AFP, 3/8). In London, Charles Sale wrote there has to be "huge doubt" over whether renovation work on the Maracana will be finished in time for the prestige friendly against England on June 2, "despite promises that it will." The site has no grass on the playing area, "thousands of seats still to be fitted and part of the roof missing." But match organizers Pitch, Brazil’s agents, "remain remarkably confident" the England game will go ahead. They said that construction "is only 15 days behind schedule and there is no plan to switch venues." Moving from the Maracana to another stadium in Rio "would take some lustre off England’s visit." But the FA "diplomatically refuse to interfere" in the Maracana debate and will still test its 2014 World Cup training ground and Copacabana Beach hotel (DAILY MAIL, 3/8).