Brazil Makes ‘Significant Progress’ on Soccer Venues, FIFA Says

Brazil has made “significant progress” on readying stadiums for the 2014 World Cup, soccer’s governing body said as it prepares to monitor the country’s preparation for the event.

South America’s biggest nation was awarded the rights to sports most-watched event in 2007. Rising construction costs, delays, labor disputes and a disagreement with FIFA over legislation have slowed preparations.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Secretary Jerome Valcke met with Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and local organizing committee chairman Jose Maria Marin for five hours today to discuss the project.

“Though analyses are still being carried out, several obstacles have already been identified in some cities,” FIFA said in a statement on its website. “These points will be discussed with the relevant authorities with a view to identifying solutions. The monitoring process, which is being conducted with the support of an international consultancy firm, will also continue.”

FIFA will get updates every six weeks. Stadiums in Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and Recife that will be used in the Confederations Cup, a warmup tournament held in 2013, have made significant progress, FIFA said. Airports and other transport services are also improving, the body said.

The country is spending 30 billion reais ($15.5 billion) on projects linked to the monthlong tournament and has offered 400 million reais in funds to each group building or upgrading the 12 stadiums being used.

In February, Brazil’s government made public a dispute with soccer’s governing body, demanding that Valcke be removed from his role as an emissary to the competition’s organizers. Valcke said the country needed a “kick up the ass” to be ready and expressed frustration at Brazil’s delay in ratifying pledges it had made when it was awarded the competition.

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