ZURICH (Reuters) - A financial impasse that has threatened to cause more delays at Sao Paulo’s World Cup stadium has been resolved, FIFA said on Friday.
Soccer’s governing body also denied media reports that 800 flights could be re-routed or cancelled during the month-long tournament in Brazil due to airspace restrictions near airports in the host cities.
The Itaquerao stadium, being built by the Corinthians club, is due to open on April 15, nearly four months after the December 31 deadline set by FIFA although Brazilian media reports said this week it might not even be ready by then.
There had been uncertainty over who would finance temporary installations such as media and VIP facilities, sponsors’ tents and stadium screens but FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said this had now been sorted out.
“The Corinthians arena is the purpose of a meeting on Monday, the financial issue has been solved and now we have to make sure (everything is ready) because we only have 80 days to implement everything we need,” he told reporters.
The venue, which will stage the opening World Cup match between Brazil and Croatia, is due to officially open with a game between Corinthians and Flamengo.
Valcke said government plans to enforce no-fly zones within a 7-km radius of stadiums on match days would not apply to most commercial flights.
Brazilian media had reported the airports of Cuiaba, Belo Horizonte, Manaus and Fortaleza would have to shut for several hours on match days while flights would be restricted at other airports.
“We asked about this at a meeting the other day and the answer was that it will not touch flights which are already registered, meaning that for fans and the media it will not be an issue,” said Valcke.
“The committee said it was just (local) flights around the cities, it is not a concern for the flights that have to land in the cities or take off from these cities after the games.
“At our next meeting with the local organizing committee we will have representatives from the air traffic department and we will make sure again (about this),” added Valcke.
“We have also asked for additional commercial slots so that whoever wants to fly between the cities will be able to without going via Rio or Sao Paulo.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez nL3N0MI3H7