Sao Paulo World Cup venue to miss FIFA deadline

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Sao Paulo, May 7 (IANS) The construction firm responsible for Sao Paulo's new World Cup stadium admitted that the venue would not be ready until March next year, missing the deadline set by world football's governing body FIFA by more than two months.

Frederico Barbosa, chief engineer for construction company Odebrecht, said Monday a contractual obligation to fit the stadium with 48,000 permanent seats would be met by Dec 31, reports Xinhua.

But the installation of temporary stands that increase the venue's capacity to 68,000 is expected to take at least another two months.

"We have to finish construction of the roof and this prevents us from starting work on the temporary stands," Barbosa said.

"We can try to bring this forward but it still won't be finished until after (the deadline). It will take another two or three months."

Known in Brazil as the Itaquerao, the stadium's redevelopment is the least advanced of any of the 12 World Cup venues.

Odebrecht is still awaiting a promised $200 million loan from state-run banks and has threatened to stop work if an imminent deal is not struck.

It is not just Sao Paulo's World Cup stadium that has caused concern for FIFA.

Each of Brazil's six venues for June's Confederations Cup - considered an organisational warm-up for the World Cup - long overshot their original deadlines of December 2012.

Brasilia's Estadio Nacional is still yet to be reopened despite being scheduled to host the Confederations Cup opener between Brazil and Japan, June 15.

Last week, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke reiterated delays would no longer be tolerated.

"I repeat again: the completion of work at the remaining World Cup stadiums has a strict deadline, which is December 2013," he said.

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