The concern over the World Cup related deadlines established for the Baixada Arena in Curitiba was the main subject matter of the press conference held this Thursday (23.01), after the meeting of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Management Board in Rio de Janeiro. When asked by journalists about the possibility of Curitiba being left out of the World Cup, the FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke, as well as the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Sport Luis Fernandes went out of their way to express how much they trust the interventions being carried out by the federal government, the Parana state government and Curitiba City Hall to avoid any changes to the match schedule.
“We – Brazil, the federal, state and municipal governments, plus the private partners involved in organising the World Cup - have taken up a set of commitments, to which we have provided guarantees. We will not accept that the World Cup be staged in stadiums that do not meet all commitments and guarantees that were signed up for. As a result of the situation in Curitiba and based on a sense of responsibility that moves us all, additional measures had to be adopted. We think that by implementing these measures, we’ll be able to secure the stadium’s delivery. We’re certain that we can overcome this challenge and that Curitiba will remain a World Cup host city”, said Luis Fernandes.
Fernandes recalled that before the Confederations Cup, there was a similar concern in relation to the Pernambuco Arena in Recife. “There was a lot of doubt whether Recife was going to be confirmed. The concern was expressed, all the players involved took the necessary measures ant the stadium was delivered meeting the requirements”.
The Maracanã itself recalled Luis Fernandes, stage of the Confederations Cup final, was doubtful for months before the event. “We flew over the Maracanã at the end of March last year, after torrential rains hit Rio and the stadium was a muddy bog that day. And that worried us. An understanding was reached between all players involved and measures were adopted. Therefore, we’re confident that these measures will be implemented effectively. We’ll follow this up and on 18 February, we'll have Curitiba's confirmation as a World Cup host city”, he said.
For Valcke, the delays at the Baixada Arena are a challenge that can be overcome. “It’s a challenge, there’s no doubt about that. But so would be changing and reallocating four matches. There’s no easy solution. The best solution is for these matches to be held in Curitiba”, he said.
The FIFA Secretary-General emphasised that organising a World Cup is very complex and praised the integrated way in which they have been working with the Brazilian government. “There are problems and things to solve until the last minute. As long as we’re working to solve problems, that’s what’s important. Very few countries could organise a World Cup tomorrow without our practically daily support, not even France. The dimension, size, meaning of a World Cup are immense. I’m not upset, I’m not tired. This is a beautiful country and we’re a lovely team”, he summed up.
Valcke also put fans that are going to watch matches in Curitiba at ease. “To those fans, I'd say that they can buy their tickets. I don’t how many are left, but you can book your flights to Curitiba”.