By Tales Azzoni
The Associated Press
SAO PAULO — The pace of progress at Maracana is apparently worrying FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, who began a tour to check on Brazil’s preparations for the Confederations Cup on Tuesday.
Three months out from the tournament, Valcke began a three-day visit to inspect host cities and noted his biggest concern was related to the famed stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which will host the final on June 30.
“The city which I will be visiting in two days is the one that worries me the most,” Valcke told Brazilian media accompanying his visit to the northeastern city of Recife.
Valcke will be in Rio to end his trip on Thursday, when he will also participate in a board meeting of the local World Cup organizing committee.
Maracana, which will also host the World Cup final in 2014, was one of the stadiums not delivered in December as FIFA originally wanted. All six Confederations Cup venues now have an April 15 deadline to be ready.
Recife also wasn’t able to finish the Arena Pernambuco by December, but Valcke said he was satisfied with the work at the venue ahead of the warmup tournament.
“We have seen a huge effort to deliver the arena by the end of March. This is great,” Valcke said. “We want Recife to organize test events before the Confederations Cup. It is for the best interest of all, Brazil, the competition and FIFA.”
On Wednesday, Valcke will be in Belo Horizonte, which faced problems at the inauguration of the Mineirao Stadium this year, including a faulty field.
The board meeting in Rio will mark 100 days before the Confederations Cup. The opener will be in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, on June 15. The tournament of continental champions will also be played in Salvador and Fortaleza.
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