The setting for the Opening Match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ in a little over 50 days, the Arena de Sao Paulo in Itaquera today provided the first stop on FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke’s latest tour of Brazil, which will also take place in Curitiba, Cuiaba and Fortaleza later this week.

Accompanied by the Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo and Brazil 2014 Organising Committee (LOC) Management Board member Ronaldo, Valcke had a meeting with the local authorities and toured the stadium. rounds up what was said at the press conference that followed the day’s events.

FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke
Today we received the latest updates on the progress of the work being carried out, and I can say that the Arena de Sao Paulo will be ready for the Opening Match. The next key date now is 17 or 18 May, which is when we will do the test event (a Brazilian championship match between Corinthians and Figueirense) and check the structure. This will give us three weeks to address anything that is not working. It’s a race against time and with only 50 days to go before the Opening Ceremony, we don’t have a single minute to lose.

Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo
With the World Cup approaching so fast, it’s only natural that we should be turning our attention back to the venue for the Opening Match. I had a tour of the neighbourhoods around the stadium and took a look at the mobility projects that are being carried out, and I am sure that they will bring hope to the people of Itaquera. The fatal accidents that have taken place have contributed to the delays the project has suffered, but the Corinthians board and the companies entrusted with the task of setting up the temporary structures have given their assurances that everything is on schedule.

Brazil 2014 Organising Committee (LOC) Management Board member Ronaldo
The Arena is fantastic. I’m glad I encouraged Andres (Sanchez, the former President of Corinthians) to play his part in fulfilling the dream of every one of the club’s fans by giving them their own stadium.

Lucio Blanco, Arena Corinthians Operations Manager
It’s an honour to represent Andres Sanchez at this visit by the representatives of FIFA, the LOC and the state and city governments, who are our true partners and are helping us to meet the timetable and match schedule for the World Cup at the Arena. We are more relaxed now, as progress has been made with work on the temporary structures, which were subject to a tighter deadline, such as IT, TV broadcasting and the catering concession.

Secretary of Planning and Development of the State of Sao Paulo Julio Semeghini 
It was a very productive meeting and we could see that the deadline is being met. The main infrastructure projects in the area around the stadium, which are the responsibility of the state, will be delivered before 28 April, which means that the entire transport network will be ready for the tests in May. Aside from the mobility projects, we will be testing our safety and security strategy with the Command and Control Centre. We will also be ready to welcome and support the 15 national teams who will be preparing for the World Cup in the state of Sao Paulo.

Sao Paulo Deputy Mayor Nadia Campeao
We are aware of everything we have done over the last three years and we are also aware that there’s still a lot of work ahead of us, and that time is of the essence. In regards to the area around the stadium, the projects will be handed over before 10 May and included in the test events to be carried out later that month.