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Maracana gets once over as deadline looms

Renovation works underway at the Maracana stadium for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Renovation works underway at the Maracana stadium for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Representatives of FIFA, the Rio government and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) visited the Maracana on Thursday to fine-tune details for the 2014 World Cup final which will be hosted in the mythical stadium.

The Maracana will host the World Cup final on July 13, 2014, and will also be the scene of both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Rio vice-governor Luis Fernando Pezao said renovations were 66 per cent complete, with 5,500 construction workers working round the clock to ensure it will be finished by the February deadline.

“When work is complete the Maracana will be one of the most modern stadiums in the world,” boasted Pezao of the stadium which will have a capacity to host 79,000 spectators.

Once the world’s highest capacity venue, the Maracana was able to hold over 120,000 spectators when it hosted the 1950 World Cup final.

Modernised at a cost of $430 million it will host four Confederations Cup matches in June 2013 as well as seven World Cup games, including the finals of both tournaments.

“The aim is to be able to receive the press, the athletes, the referees, the fans in the best possible conditions,” LOC executive director of operations Ricardo Trade said.

“There’s nine months to go to the Confederations Cup and we’re already beginning to feel the adrenaline rush,” he added.

A control centre for the entire stadium, which has 360 cameras, 405 security screens and 2,940 loudspeakers, will be inaugurated in March 2013.

For the past three years, a delegation made up of representatives of FIFA, Rio and LOC officials have met every six months and have regularly visited stadiums in the 12 host cities of the 2014 World Cup.

FIFA had last year voiced concern over whether infrastructure projects and renovation or construction of stadiums, were on track for the first World Cup in the football-mad Brazil since 1950.

The road to the 2014 World Cup started yesterday with a series of qualifying matches.

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