Brazil says Recife will be ready for Confed Cup

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SAO PAULO (AP) -Brazilian organizers said Wednesday the northeastern city of Recife will be ready to help host next year's Confederations Cup despite concerns with slow preparations.

The president of the local 2014 World Cup organizing committee visited the city and said he is confident all the necessary work will be completed in time to host matches in the warmup tournament.

Jose Maria Marin said he is "not worried" and was reassured by local authorities that the city will not miss any of the FIFA deadlines.

Marin scheduled his visit after meeting with FIFA last week and saying that preparations in Recife were a concern ahead of the Confederations Cup.

FIFA is set to decide in June whether Recife and Salvador, also in northeastern Brazil, will be among the tournament's host cities. The other four cities already set to host matches are Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Fortaleza and Belo Horizonte.

"We visited the construction site and I can affirm that I'm at ease after seeing everything that is being done here," Marin said in a statement released by Recife's press office. "I'm not worried about missing the deadlines that were established and I'm certain that (local authorities) will complete the needed work to host the Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup."

Pernambuco Gov. Eduardo Campos met with Marin and gave him guarantees that the government would fulfill all of the commitments made by the state to FIFA and local organizers.

"You can rest assure that Pernambuco will be ready to host the matches," Campos said.

With just over a year before the Confederations Cup, work at the Arena Pernambuco is only 32 percent complete but construction is on schedule, according to a government report released on Tuesday. Only three other stadiums have less work completed than the one in Recife, which will host five World Cup matches, including one in the second round.

Marin, who is also the president of the Brazilian football federation, left his meeting with FIFA officials in Switzerland last week saying that Recife was one of FIFA's biggest concerns.

He said the trip to the northeastern city was needed to "discuss the necessary actions to accelerate the construction of the Arena Pernambuco" and "guarantee that Recife has all the opportunities to deliver the stadium within the timeline set for the Confederations Cup."

The Arena Pernambuco will have a capacity of 46,000 and the initial estimate was to have it completed by the end of this year. The stadium has an estimated cost of $275 million.

Salvador also is awaiting FIFA's approval to be included in the Confederations Cup, but the city's Fonte Nova stadium is 55 percent complete already.

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Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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