FIFA Threatens São Paulo With Loss Of World Cup Games If Construction Delays Occur
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke warned Tuesday that "delays in completing the stadium in Sao Paulo could result in the city being stripped of hosting 2014 World Cup matches," according to the AP. Sao Paulo is scheduled to host six World Cup matches, including the opener and one of the semifinals, but Valcke said that organizers "have to speed up." He said, "And don't forget, and it's not a threat, we can change all until the first minute of the ticket sales. So we can change all the match schedule until the first of August." Valcke said that FIFA will not "tolerate delays with the 12 World Cup stadiums." He said, "I think we have been clear. There will be no delay" (AP, 5/14). REUTERS' Tatiana Ramil reported the threat "brought an angry reaction from stadium owners Corinthians," which said that FIFA "were welcome to move games if they wanted to and said they would not tolerate any pressure." Corinthians "had originally planned to build a 48,000 capacity arena but agreed to add another 20,000 temporary seats to accommodate next year's World Cup." The club said that FIFA "had agreed to give them an extra two months after work on the stadium was delayed by bureaucratic difficulties." The club said, "If FIFA understand that they have to move the venue for the opening game, then they can be our guests. The aim of Corinthians has always been to serve the city, the state and the country. That's why the club increased the capacity of the stadium and we will not accept any type of pressure" (REUTERS, 5/14).