FIFA's anger over the lagging pace of construction ahead of this summer's World Cup in Brazil could cost the southern city of Curitiba its four group-play matches, an official said Tuesday.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA's secretary general, said his group is not convinced that the Arena de Baixada will be ready by the time the tournament opens June 12.
"We cannot organize a match without a stadium. This has reached a critical point," he told reporters after making a visit to the stadium, which is reportedly 90% complete. "Let us be frank and direct about it. As you must know the present situation at the stadium is not to our liking. Not only is it very behind in its construction but it has failed to meet any of the deadlines set by FIFA."
All 12 World Cup venues were supposed to be ready by Jan. 1, but FIFA was forced to relax that deadline after a slew of delays last month, including fatal construction accidents at stadiums in Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Manaus. In Curitiba, capital of the state of Parana, workers walked off the site in December in a protest over back pay.