Maracana stadium 'set for test events'

11th Mar 2013

Officials expect Rio's famous Maracana stadium, which is currently being rebuilt, to be ready for its first test event in April.

The arena was originally built for the 1950 World Cup and is being improved ahead of the next World Cup in 2014 in Brazil.

Maracana will host seven matches during the World Cup, including the final.

However, the rebuilding process has been hit by a series of issues, with the completion date being put back twice.

Regis Fichtner, chief of staff of the Rio state government, confirmed the stadium will be ready to stage events from April 27.

In a statement published by FIFA, he confirmed the stadium will stage two events behind closed doors and another that is open to the public before the Confederations Cup in June.

Mr Fichtner also confirmed those tests will include the friendly with England on June 2.

He discussed the plans for the stadium after a meeting between FIFA, the local organising committee, local authorities and the Brazilian federal government.

Mr Fichtner added it is important all operational aspects are put under the microscope before the Confederations Cup, which is considered to be an important dress rehearsal for the main event in 2014.

Ricardo Trade, chief executive of the local organising committee, confirmed the authorities will continue to work round the clock to deliver a strong Confederations Cup tournament.

Matches during the June tournament will also be held in Salvador, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Recife and Brasilia.

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