Skip to main content

Curitiba stadium retains World Cup status

February 18, 2014 -- Updated 2201 GMT (0601 HKT)
An aerial view of the Arena da Baixada taken in December displays the work that remains outstanding ahead of June's finals.
An aerial view of the Arena da Baixada taken in December displays the work that remains outstanding ahead of June's finals.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Curitiba's Arena da Baixada retains World Cup status after satisfying FIFA
  • FIFA Secretary General says it is 'essential' that progress is maintained
  • Stadium set to host four World Cup group games

(CNN) -- The delayed stadium in the Brazilian city of Curitiba has retained its World Cup status after satisfying FIFA that all was being done to get the Arena da Baixada ready for June's finals.

Last month, world football's governing body gave local organizers a deadline of 18 February by which to have made significant improvements or risk losing its four World Cup games.

One of these matches includes the final group game for world champions Spain against Australia on June 23.

Read: 'No stadium, no match' - FIFA warns Curitiba

"The special committee instigated by Brazil's Ministry of Sports following an emergency meeting on January 21, consisting of representatives of Atletico Paranaense, the state of Parana and the city of Curitiba, has managed ... to develop a comprehensive recovery plan which includes the solving of the financial challenges involved," said FIFA in a statement.

Donovan, Henry look ahead to World Cup
Anti-World Cup protests turn violent
High-tech solution to running Rio
Brasil: volar para el mundial, carísimo
12 people killed in five-hour rampage
Qatar commits to labor reforms

The Arena de Baixada venue, home to Atletico Paranaense in the southern state of Parana, is being expanded for the World Cup with new seats added alongside the pitch and capacity raised to 40,000.

Officials claim the stadium should now be ready by May 15, with work set to intensify yet further and a minimum of 1,500 workers guaranteed to be on-site.

Nonetheless, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke warned that the pace of improvement must not falter.

"It is essential that the works are maintained at the required levels and that a collective effort by all the stakeholders involved in Curitiba continues," he said.

"It is a race against a very tight timeline and will require regular monitoring, but we are counting on the commitment made by the Atletico Paranaense, the city and the state of Curitiba."

Some may question the decision to intensify work when six construction workers have died in the rush to meet FIFA's World Cup deadlines.

Read: Manaus World Cup stadium suffers third death

But Luis Fernandes, Brazil's Deputy Sports Minister, said he was delighted to see the "three measures plan" working out.

These cover the progress on construction, improved financial guarantees as well as increased commitments by local organizers.

"It is great to see the significant progress made since our last visit. It's a city which lives and breathes football," said a man who is also the executive coordinator within the government for the FIFA World Cup.

Curitiba is one of four stadiums that missed FIFA's December deadline for completion.

Aside from simply finishing the stadium, local officials must also carry out a number of security tests at new arenas to ensure that they are both safe and fully operational.

Spain-Australia aside, Curitiba is also set to host the following group games: Iran-Nigeria, Honduras-Ecuador and Algeria-Russia.

Preparations for the World Cup have been controversial in Brazil.

Protesters are outraged at what they consider lavish spending on the World Cup as well as the 2016 Olympic Games.

Brazil has not hosted the World Cup since 1950 -- when it lost 2-1 in the deciding match to Uruguay.

The 2014 tournament is due to open on June 12 with Brazil taking on Croatia in Sao Paulo's Arena Corinthians, a stadium which has also had its own renovation issues.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT