Brazil's Rousseff opens World Cup in northeast

A barefoot President Dilma Rousseff on Friday kicked off the inauguration of the stadium of the northeastern city of Salvador, one of 12 that will host next year’s soccer World Cup.

The brand new Arena Fonte Nova will first be used for games of next June’s Confederations Cup, a dry run for the World Cup.

“We can show that Brazil will present a high-quality Confederations Cup, World Cup and (2016 Rio) summer Olympics,” the official Agencia Brasil quoted her as saying.

More than 10,000 workers took part in the renovation of the 55,000-seat Arena Fonte Nova at a cost of around $300 million.

The stadium will host three Confederations Cup games in June.

It is the third host stadium to be completed after those of Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza.

Still under construction are: Rio’s iconic Maracana arena, where the World Cup final is to be played and which will be completed on April 27, Recife’s stadium expected to be finished on April 14 and that of Brasilia due on April 21.

The first official match in the Salvador stadium will take place Sunday between Bahia and Vitoria as part of the Bahia state league.

Jerome Valcke, the secretary general of world’s football governing body FIFA on Friday conceded that Brazil will not be entirely ready to host the Confederations Cup but warned there would be no compromise with respect to the World Cup.

“The deadline for the FIFA World Cup stadiums delivery stands firm as December 2013. There will be no compromise,” he said.

The Confederations Cup will be held from June 15 to 30 in six Brazilian cities. The contenders are Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Uruguay, Japan, Italy, Nigeria and Tahiti.


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