Maracanã Stadium will be ready next month claims State Secretary of Sport for Rio
March 10 - Maracanã Stadium, which will play a pivotal role in both the 2014 FIFA 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, will be ready next month despite delays with the renovation work, Andre Lazaroni, the State Secretary of Sport for Rio de Janeiro, has claimed.
The venue, which will host matches at the World Cup next year, including the final, before staging the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Rio 2016, still has no grass on the playing area and thousands of seats missing while fears grew when it flooded last week.
Of immediate concern is England's friendly match against Brazil on June 2 this year which comes ahead of the 2013 Confederations Cup from June 15 to 30, where the venue will also be used.
But Lazaroni has tried to clam fears that the venue will not be ready in time following the renovation, which has cost around $470 million (£297 million/€361 million) and seen capacity increase to 85,000, even though last November Brazilian officials had claimed that the work would be completed by the end of last month.
"We have a new deadline of April 27 and the work will be complete by then," Lazaroni said at a press conference here on the eve of the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards, which are due to take place tomorrow.
"Renovation work can be difficult and actually harder than building the venue from new.
"Delays are always possible but I am very confident that everything will be ready by April 27, well ahead of the start of the Confederations Cup.
"So despite the problems we have had, you should not worry because everything will be ready in time."
The Maracanã was originally built for the 1950 World Cup - the last time the competition was held in Brazil to Brazil - and was the venue for the host country's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay in the final of that tournament – watched by a world record 200,000 fans.