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World Cup A to Z

C IS FOR CURITIBA

C IS FOR CURITIBA

EVERY looming major event seems to have at least one construction crisis and, in the case of Brazil 2014, the stadium in question is the Arena da Baixada in the city of Curitiba in the southern province of Parana.

So concerned were Fifa about the lack of progress and slippage of deadlines surrounding the project last month that secretary general Jerome Valcke threatened to throw them off the bill completely, putting the city of Porto Alegre, about 400 miles away, on standby.

But with host side Atletico Paranaense belatedly throwing extra construction staff at the site to accelerate the pace, Valcke declared himself satisfied, while throwing in one qualification.

"It's a race against a very tight time line," Valcke said.

"Collective effort by all stakeholders involved in Curitiba must continue at highest pace."

Assuming everything goes to plan, four matches in total will take place at the Curitiba stadium, which is being expanded to a capacity of 43,900.

The Group F tie between Iran and Nigeria on June 16 is the tournament's first outing, with reigning champions Spain's Group B meeting with Australia on June 23 topping the bill ahead of Honduras v Ecuador in Group E and Algeria v Russia in Group H.

As it so happens, the Arena da Baixada was only one of six venues to miss an initial December 31 deadline, but problems deepened when it emerged that a fire there in October had done structural damage, despite promises by state officials that the impact was minor.

A report by the Public Ministry warned that the blaze "could have compromised the overall stability of the construction" and building work was formally suspended that month on the orders of a labour tribunal due to numerous safety breaches.

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