Even without a delivery deadline, the Baixada Arena in Curitiba was provided with one to show that it is able to host four World Cup matches: 18 February. The date is the first day of the seminar that brings together the technical staff of the 32 national squads in the city of Florianopolis. It is also the final deadline established by FIFA for construction works at the stadium in the state of Paraná to reach a more comfortable level.
The current rate of progress is seen by FIFA, as well as the federal, state and municipal governments as worrying. After emergency meetings held between members of the three government levels and representatives from Atlético Paranaense Football Club – in charge of the construction works -, it was decided that a number of measures will be adopted to avoid the delays from causing any more problems.
The decision was also agreed with FIFA during the visit of the Secretary-General to the Baixada Arena this Tuesday (21.01). The FIFA official met with the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Sport Luis Fernandes, the Mayor of Curitiba Gustavo Fruet, the Parana State Governor Beto Richa and the president of Atlético-PR Football Club, Mario Celso Petraglia. The meeting was also attended by former footballers Cafu and Bebeto, members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
“I’m not talking about a deadline. I’m talking about 18 February. On that day, the 32 national squads will get together in Florianopolis (capital of the state of Santa Catarina) for the seminar. It's a very important meeting, because the teams will be given information on the World Cup, about its organisation and the managers will visit the cities they’ll play in”, explained Valcke.
There is a unanimous belief that if the work rate is kept, the Baixada Arena will not be ready with the necessary quality and requirements for the 2014 World Cup. “With a sense of responsibility inherent to us all and faced with this realisation, through a common agreement, we have decided to adopt additional measures to ensure that the stadium in Curitiba is capable of hosting the World Cup matches that have been scheduled for the city", said the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Sport Luis Fernandes.
The main measure is to set up a managing committee for the stadium's construction works, made up by the state and municipal governments, as well as Atletico-PR. A technical committee may also be set up to point out the best paths to increase work rate. “It is a new partnership governance, aimed at making sure that construction works are carried out at the speed necessary for the stadium to host World Cup matches", explained Luis Fernandes.
In addition to setting up the committee, other measures were agreed on between the parties. “A second measure is to - consistent with the diagnosis of the established situation - intensify construction works at the stadium to ensure its conclusion. This evidently implies in increasing the number of workers involved in the endeavour, as well as studying the possibility of implementing a third work shift", stated Luis Fernandes.
Despite having an established deadline, Jerome Valcke did not determine that Curitiba be excluded as one of the World Cup cities, if the Baixada Arena does not comply with expectations. “Taking a city off the host city list is not that easy. Tickets have already been sold and there are people planning to come and watch the matches here. Current holders Spain are playing here. I’m not saying that the other matches are not important, but what we’re hoping is that the decisions made today, with the full support of the federal government, the state government, city hall and the club, will allow Curitiba to be kept as a host city, as previously decided", he said.
The Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Sport Luis Fernades also shares this confidence. “What I can say is that our commitment is to look from now on and see what’s necessary for the stadium to be capable of hosting the scheduled matches, and we’ll act on this. We understand that the measures alone are not enough to ensure the staging of the World Cup in Curitiba”, he stated.
Valcke compared the situation to childbirth, which may be difficult, but will produce a beautiful baby. “All the technicians are going to work and on 18 February, they’ll say that everything is ok based on the work done till now. We believe that the stadium will be ready for the World Cup. And I'm not visiting the stadium on 18 February, but I need the contribution from all the technicians, who'll work every day, writing reports about the progress of the works", he concluded.