The acceleration of work at the Arena da Baixada was the main topic of conversation at meetings held on Tuesday 21 January in Curitiba during FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke's tour of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ host cities. It was decided that a steering committee and a technical committee would be created between the parties involved - FIFA, the Local Organising Committee (LOC), the local authorities at Curitiba city hall, the Parana state government and Clube Atletico Paranaense football team - to synchronize efforts on the schedule for the stadium's delivery, as well as intensifying and supervising work on the project. Within three weeks, the results of the first evaluation will be used as a basis to redefine Curitiba's position as a World Cup host city.
Aside from Secretary General Valcke, the meetings were attended by the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Sport, Parana Governor Beto Richa, Curitiba Mayor Gustavo Fruet, Curitiba World Cup Municipal Secretary Reginaldo Cordeiro, World Cup State Secretary Mario Celso Cunha, as well as Local Organizing Committee Management Board member Bebeto and Cafu, captain of the side that clinched Brazil's fifth World Cup trophy.
FIFA.com brings you the main points from the press conference in Curitiba:
FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke
"To be very honest, the situation as it stands is not ideal. The stadium is very delayed and well outside the delivery schedule to ensure best use by FIFA and the FIFA World Cup. But we have to be positive and that's why we have come together, as the main driving forces involved, to find solutions. By 18 February, the date of the Team Workshop in Florianopolis, where all 32 qualifying sides will be given important information about the FIFA World Cup, we have to decide between us - the city of Curitiba, the state of Parana, Clube Atletico Paranaense football team, the LOC and FIFA - whether the stadium is in a position on that date to give us the confidence to hold World Cup matches there, without risking the organisation of the event. We will have people from FIFA and the LOC monitoring the stadium's progress on a daily basis and we will work together to guarantee that Curitiba will host FIFA World Cup games."
Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Sport Luis Fernandes
"What all sides have found is that, if the pace of work at the stadium in Curitiba were to be kept as it is, then it would not be ready with the quality and requirements necessary to host the FIFA World Cup. With this is mind, we agreed that we would take steps to guarantee that the arena would be ready to host the games scheduled to be held there. Firstly, we will take the partnership between the entities involved to a new level, creating a steering committee for work at the Curitiba stadium, with direct action not only from Clube Atletico Paranaense, but also involving representatives from Curitiba city hall and the Parana state government. The new administration will aim to get work up to the pace required and will be linked to a technical committee that will identify the best ways to accelerate work at the site.
The second thing we are doing is linked to how progress is determined to be going: work on the stadium needs to be scaled up to get it ready and this means increasing the number of workers and introducing a third shift to accelerate this pace. The third is the basis for the solution, which is to guarantee the flow of funds. Thirty-nine million reais will be freed up from the Parana government development fund, which is significant financial reinforcement. Along with this, the committee will work out the precise amount required to ramp up work and provide a proposed financial arrangement to ensure funds until the end of work."
Curitiba World Cup Municipal Secretary Reginaldo Cordeiro
"Commitments taken on by the city of Curitiba, the Parana state government and Clube Atletico Paranaense must be delivered in full. The city hall is honouring all the commitments assumed to hold the World Cup, such as improvements to surrounding areas and expropriating land, as we have the technical capacity to do so. The meetings held over the past few days were important for us to re-establish these commitments and create both steering and technical committees which will allow us to oversee the cash flow and the progress of work on a daily basis."
State Secretary for the World Cup in Curitiba Mario Celso Cunha
"The three points explained by Luis Fernandes, the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Sport, are fundamental and should be actioned immediately. We understand the real concern that FIFA has over the progress of work. We at the state government and city hall will move not only to supervise the site, but also to get involved in defining priorities by collaborating directly with our experts in the area. Our responsibility cannot be overstated, and that is why we will work earnestly to fulfil the pledges made today between the government, Curitiba city hall and Clube Atletico Paranaense. The funding of the project is the responsibility of Clube Atletico Paranaense and its feasibility is being underpinned by this financing, with real guarantees."