SAO PAULO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro authorities have confirmed that the Maracana will be ready for test events in late April, though they said on Friday that finishing the stadium's renovation on time will be tough.
After a meeting with FIFA and the local World Cup organizing committee, Rio state officials presented a detailed timeline of the final construction phases and test events for the venue which will host the Confederations Cup final in less than four months.
"We know we do not have an easy schedule but Maracana will be ready to stage test events as of April 27," said Rio state Chief of Staff Regis Fichtner, who was representing Gov. Sergio Cabral in the meeting.
The officials said three test events will be conducted before the warm-up tournament, although only one "major public test" will be scheduled, according to a statement released by FIFA.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said Thursday after a three-day inspection visit to host cities that it would be ideal to have three test events in each of the six venues ahead of the Confederations Cup, but that at this stage two would be fine.
Details on the "closed" test events announced by the Rio government were not disclosed.
Maracana is set to host a friendly between Brazil and England on June 2.
Fichtner said local organizers will "make sure all operational aspects at the renovated stadium will have undergone detailed testing including full capacity operation" ahead of the friendly.
"Back in Zurich, pleased to hear Maracana will be fully operational by 27 April (and) stage three tests as guaranteed today by Rio government," Valcke said on Twitter.
Valcke had expressed concern with the progress of work at the famed venue earlier this week. It got worse when heavy rain flooded parts of the stadium's construction site two days ago, prompting fears of even more delays just about three months before the Confederations Cup is to begin.
Valcke had said Friday's meeting was crucial to set the schedule for the stadium's renovation.
"It was a very fruitful session and the state of Rio reiterated its commitment during the meeting to have Maracana's construction completed by the agreed date," said Ron DelMont, managing director of the FIFA World Cup office in Brazil. "We have a clear common vision on the respective requirements for the stadium delivery roadmap for the FIFA Confederations Cup."
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