Salvador, April 6 (IANS) Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff officially opened the Arena Fonte Nova, one of the 12 stadiums that will host next year’s FIFA World Cup.
The 55,000-seat venue in Brazil’s north-eastern city of Salvador is the third World Cup stadium to be ready after the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte and Castelao in Fortaleza, reports Xinhua.
“As president it gives me great pride to look at this stadium and see that we are exceeding all expectations,” Rousseff said Friday.
Arena Fonte Nova, whose refurbishment cost $300 million, will be used for the first time Sunday for a match between local rivals Bahia and Vitoria. Apart from staging six World cup fixtures, the stadium will also be used for three matches at June’s Confederation’s Cup, considered an organisational warm-up for the World Cup.
“We can show that Brazil will present a high-quality Confederations Cup, World Cup and (2016 Rio) summer Olympics,” Rousseff said.
FIFA has given organisers until the end of the month to complete redevelopment work at the other three Confederation’s Cup venues in Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Brasilia. FIFA conceded that not all of the planned work will be finished in time for the June 15-30 event.
“It is impossible to expect this to happen in the shortened preparation time – in most cases less than two months – instead of the scheduled six, due to the compromises we made with the (Confederations Cup host) cities,” FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke said.
“The deadline for the FIFA World Cup stadiums delivery stands firm as December 2013. There will be no compromise.”