FIFA voice 2014 concerns
Jerome Valcke (AFP Photo)
Sao Paulo - FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, said Friday he had some "concerns" on the progress of preparations for the 2014 World Cup in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
"We are a little concerned about Manaus - the delivery date will be difficult to meet," Valcke told reporters in Sao Paulo, noting each of the 12 venues had to meet a range of tough criteria.
"For projects which could be late there is no plan B - taking away a stadium (off the list of venues) is still possible. The final draw (in December of next year) will serve as the deadline. That's when the decision will be taken," said Valcke.
"But if they can prove ahead of the draw that everything will be ready by January 20, 2014, that will be good (however) delivering a stadium six weeks before (the World Cup kicks off) in April 2014, no, this is not possible," said Valcke, who recently visited Manaus as part of a tour of the venues.
He added it was better to sound a warning with a year to go to avoid having the host nation asking thereafter "but why didn't you tell us?"
There have also been regular concerns expressed by FIFA about the mythical Maracana in Rio, where the final is due to be staged but which has been undergoing a massive overhaul.
"When you visit the Maracana site in Rio you ask yourself - 'but how are they going to do it?' But I am not an expert and the experts tell me that everything will be ready for a friendly on June 2, 2013 against England. So we believe them, we at FIFA believe them," said Valcke.
Earlier this year, Valcke infuriated the Brazilians by suggesting that their preperations were lagging across the board to the degree that they needed a "kick up the backside."
Since then he has been more conciliatory.