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Volume 10 No. 22


Manchester City has been given the go-ahead by the City Countil to "expand the capacity of the Etihad Stadium to around 62,000," according to the PA. The increased capacity will make the Etihad Stadium the second largest in the Premier League, behind only ManU's Old Trafford which holds 76,000. The Manchester City Council confirmed that a planning application to add up 14,500 extra seats "has been approved." The club will increase capacity of both ends by 6,250 seats and add an addition 2,000 around the pitch (PA, 2/13).

Curitiba World Cup Secretary Reginaldo Cordeiro said that the city's stadium that is "facing exclusion from the list of venues is likely to be completed just six weeks before this year’s tournament in Brazil," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Curitiba spokesperson Alvaro Borba said, "The secretary told a meeting that the stadium will be ready by April 30, maybe 15 days before. He told them he was sure the stadium would be ready for the World Cup." By April the stadium's "fate may already have been decided." Financing problems "have meant work on the 41,456-seat arena has fallen so far behind schedule" that FIFA will decide Feb. 18 "whether to exclude the stadium." As the rush to complete the Arena da Baixada "has increased, so has the cost." The stadium, a joint venture between local team Atletico Paranaense, the state of Parana and Curitiba, "is now budgeted to cost" 330M reais ($136M), 78% more than the original budget. The total for all 12 arenas will be more than 8B reais ($3.3B), or at least 43% more than the original estimate (BLOOMBERG, 2/13).

DOUBTS: REUTERS' Andrew Downie reported FIFA is "making contingency plans to move World Cup matches away from Curitiba because it believes the stadium may not be ready in time for the kick-off in June." The report "did not say how it obtained the information and was dismissed by World Cup officials in the city." Cordeiro "denied the story." FIFA VP Jim Boyce, who is "also a member" of the World Cup organizing committee, said that he was "unaware of any developments aimed at taking games away from Curitiba." Cordeiro said, "No, no, no, this comes from a declaration made by (head of the Local Organising Committee) Ricardo Trade when he was asked by a newspaper in Brasilia if the alternative to Curitiba’s Arena da Baixada would be Gremio’s ground (in Porto Alegre)." Porto Alegre and Curitiba are 460 miles (740 kms) apart. Cordeiro: "It’s rubbish. Curitiba has not been counted out." Cordeiro said that FIFA Stadiums Manager Charles Botta "returns to the city next week to finally rule on whether Curitiba will be included in the competition." FIFA "wants a decision" by Tuesday. Four matches are "scheduled to take place at the 41,500-capacity ground." The stadium is "not being used after the opening group stage" (REUTERS, 2/13).