Brazil 2014 - FIFA downplays partial test
SAO PAULO (AP):
FIFA and Brazilian organisers are downplaying the fact that the final test event at the stadium hosting the World Cup opener won't be held with a capacity crowd.
Only about 40,000 people will be allowed at the Itaquerao for a Brazilian league match today, meaning that organisers will not be able to fully test the stadium before the inaugural match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke last week said it was "vital" to test the Itaquerao "under full match conditions, including the temporary seats." But only some of the 20,000 temporary seats installed for the opener will be used because of safety concerns raised by local authorities.
FIFA and the local World Cup organising committee said that ideally they would have preferred to have a full crowd of nearly 70,000 people today, but noted that the test event will still be "extremely important" to help making sure the stadium will be ready for the opener.
The match between Corinthians and Botafogo will mark the final test event at the Itaquerao, which has been among the most problematic venues ahead of the World Cup.
"Ideally, FIFA and the local organising committee would have preferred to operate this event as a full-capacity match," they said in a statement. "However, the match will still be extremely important to train and integrate the local (teams of organisers)."
The other test event at the Itaquerao happened on May 18. Local organisers said they were mostly satisfied with the results at the time even though they admitted there were some problems, including a leaky roof.