Maracana meets Olympic standards

Rio de Janeiro, April 9 (IANS) Rio de Janeiro’s state government has denied that the Maracana Stadium will be shut for more redevelopment work following next year’s FIFA World Cup.

In a statement released Monday, local officials said the stadium’s current refurbishment would leave it ready for both the World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, reports Xinhua.

“The state government maintains constant contact with Rio 2016 and we are working together to ensure the preparations are adequate for the Olympic Games. It must be made clear that the requirements and standards are being observed at every stage of work, although there are requests that are negotiated between the parties in a harmonious fashion,” the statement said.

The comments followed media reports claiming the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had identified 39 points that did not meet its strict stadium standards. Among them was the Maracana’s roof, which is understood to be able to withstand 81 tons, 40 short of IOC requirements.

Reports also said the venue’s pitch access points had not met minimum specifications while parking and shopping projects at the Maracana Complex were “unviable before 2016”.

The iconic stadium, built for the 1950 World Cup, has been shut for refurbishment work since 2010. Originally budgeted at $200 million, the cost of works has blown out to an estimated $500 million.

The Maracana will host matches at this year’s Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup, including the final of both events, the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics as well as the Olympic and Paralympic football tournaments.

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