Brazil makes SWC promise
Rio de Janeiro - Work on stadiums that will host the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will largely be completed ahead of schedule, Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said Tuesday.
Brazilian authorities are racing to build or renovate the 12 stadiums in time for one of the world's premier sporting events.
"My expectation is that work on most of the stadiums will be ready ahead of schedule. If there is some delay it will be minor because the consortia involved have an interest in finishing early so that they can recoup their investment," Rebelo told reporters in Rio.
"There is no delay nor any risk that (Rio's famed) Maracana (stadium) will not be ready for the Cup," he added.
Maracana, where the World Cup final will be played on July 13 2014, is being modernised at a cost estimated at $660 million.
Rebelo said the only delay involves the stadium in the southern city of Porto Alegre.
But he quickly added that a decision was made Monday "to make up for the lost time and give (the Porto Alegre club) Internacional the possibility to finish its stadium in time for the Cup."
According to a report by the Getulio Vargas Foundation and the consultancy Ernst & Young, Brazil needs more than $11 billion in investment to fix roads, boost hotel capacity, reinforce security and develop its telecommunications network ahead of the Cup.
Last month football's world ruling body FIFA warned Brazil anew about over delays in the progress of construction projects expected to be ready for the four-yearly football extravaganza.
FIFA, keen to prevent sales of tickets on the black market, also agreed to lower prices of admission tickets for students and seniors in line with a Brazilian government bill on the Cup.
Rebelo said he expected the bill to be approved by the Chamber of Deputies before the end of the month and by the Senate next year.
The bill gives FIFA exclusive rights to pictures, sound and other forms of expression linked to the World Cup and slaps penal and financial sanctions for any illegal reproduction.