Jerome Valcke keeps heat on Brazil for 2014 World Cup venues
Rio de Janeiro: FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke kept the heat on Brazil on Monday, saying his visits to World Cup venues were a means of keeping up the "pressure" for the country to be ready for next June.
Valcke has made numerous visits to Brazil to check on progress at the 12 venues -- last year he caused consternation in the host nation by suggesting it needed a "kick up the backside" to ensure it was 100 percent ready.
He also warned that there was "no plan B" and that venues which were not ready by December would be discarded.
However, he was effusive in praise of the Beira Rio stadium in the southern city of Porto Alegre.
“There’s been a big change since we were here last time. There are no worries or doubts at all about the Beira-Rio being ready in time," Valcke said.
“It is great for all of us at FIFA to come here because Porto Alegre is a city that lives and breathes football. Everyone who visits the city next year will be able to see that for themselves.”
But with the tournament looming ever closer, Valcke was keen to stress it was necessary to exert a "certain pressure" to show that FIFA was being proactive we are "not sat in (FIFA headquarters) in Zurich."
Brazil says all the venues will be ready but there have been several bumps in the road -- not least last week, when a judge`s concerns over conditions for workers halted construction in the southern city of Curitiba.
"We have to look at all the details. This period cannot be used to rest but to finalise all the missing details to guarantee the event is a success," Valcke told reporters.
Visiting Porto Alegre with Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and event ambassadors Ronaldo and Bebeto, he added "there are still things to do" but stressed FIFA was working closely with the Brazilian government.
Even so, six stadiums are yet to be finished.
Beira Rio will stage five matches and its refurbishment is 90 percent complete.
Valcke was later due in the central western city of Cuiaba and Thursday is scheduled to meet with the Local Organising Committee in Rio.