Soccer-Curitiba venue relying on emergency World Cup measures

RIO DE JANEIRO Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:48pm EST

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RIO DE JANEIRO Jan 23 (Reuters) - Organisers have taken emergency measures to help ensure the stadium in Curitiba will be ready for the World Cup kickoff in June, Brazilian Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes said on Thursday.

An additional 39 million Brazilian reals ($16.32 million) has been released to builders while officials are considering adding a third shift so that work is carried out around the clock, Fernandes told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro.

New managers have also been hired to oversee a revised timetable and guarantee the work is done promptly.

"We can deliver the stadium on time with these measures," Fernandes said.

Officials from world soccer's ruling body FIFA and the local organising committee visited the Arena da Baixada on Tuesday and were shocked at the lack of progress at a venue that was supposed to have been finished in December.

Four games will be held in the 43,000-seater stadium including world champions Spain against Group B rivals Australia.

FIFA warned the southern city it has until Feb. 18 to come up with the new timetable.

If Curitiba does not prove it can finish the stadium by late April or early May it will be excluded from the tournament, said FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.

Fernandes said he was confident workers could make up for lost time and compared the situation to last year when stadiums in Recife and Rio were in danger of being cut from the Confederations Cup.

"Measures were taken to guarantee the stadiums were delivered on time," he explained. "We are confident the measures being taken now mean we can confirm (Curitiba) on Feb. 18."

The original cost of the stadium was put at 265 million reals but the most recent estimate is closer to 326 million, a 23 percent increase.

($1 = 2.3890 Brazilian reals) (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier, writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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