Skip to main content

'No stadium, no match' - FIFA issues threat to Brazil World Cup city

By Shasta Darlington, CNN and Sarah Holt
updated 5:22 AM EST, Wed January 22, 2014
Construction has slowed at the Arena da Baixada World Cup venue in Curitiba, Brazil, shown here in December 2013.
Construction has slowed at the Arena da Baixada World Cup venue in Curitiba, Brazil, shown here in December 2013.
  • FIFA warns of "emergency situation" in World Cup host city Curitiba as construction slows
  • Builders are given new deadline of February 18 to show progress at the Arena de Baixada
  • Brazil's Ministry of Sport pledges to upscale work and inject an extra $16.5 million
  • The 2014 World Cup begins on June 12 when hosts Brazil take on Croatia in Sao Paulo

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- There are less than five months to go until the World Cup begins in Brazil but the clock is ticking for another of the global football fiesta's host cities.

Curitiba, the capital of the southern state of Parana, is so behind with its stadium renovations that FIFA could strip it of its host status.

On a trip to inspect the venue Tuesday, Jerome Valcke, secretary general of the sport's governing body, told reporters: "You cannot organize games if you do not have a stadium -- that's obvious.

"If you don't have a stadium then you cannot have four games taking place here. So that's why again there is this emergency situation."

FIFA has now given builders in the city of Curitiba a new deadline of February 18 to show a marked improvement in the stadium.

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

It is understood to now be 90% complete but has progressed little since the end of November, when it was 88% done.

Brazil's rocky road to the World Cup
World Cup air travel may empty pockets
Brazil's World Cup venues

Work on the stadium was also halted in October when a local judge intervened because of concerns that workers were at serious risk of being injured.

"We are not expecting the stadium to be ready on February 18," Valcke continued.

"What we are expecting is to see a progress and to understand where we are going and that is what is being put in place today."

Luis Fernandes, executive secretary of Brazil's Ministry of Sport, agreed with Valcke's criticism, saying: "If the pace of work at the stadium in Curitiba were to be kept as it is, then it would not be ready to host the World Cup.

"With this is mind, we agreed that we would take steps to guarantee that the arena would be ready to host the games scheduled to be held there."

Those steps include "scaling up" work on the stadium and an injection of an extra $16.5 million from the Parana government's development fund.

World Cup holder Spain is due to play the first match at the stadium against Australia on June 26.

A total of 12 venues scattered throughout Brazil are due to host World Cup games this summer but many of them have been beset with problems.

Five workers have died on World Cup stadium construction sites, the latest the death of Marcleudo de Melo Ferreira, who fell from the roof of a stadium in the Amazonian city of Manaus in December.

Many of the stadiums are behind with their construction deadlines and there have been concerns that Brazil's transport network could create major logistical problems.

Preparations for the World Cup have also 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 had its own renovation issues.

Read: Pele promises fantastic World Cup despite stadium fears

Read: 2014 World Cup draw - Brazil to face Croatia

Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.