(ATR) A full six cities will stage the 2013 Confederations Cup, confirm FIFA and Brazil 2014.
After falling behind schedule in stadium construction, the northeastern cities of Salvador and Recife were put on notice earlier this year but survived Thursday’s cut.
Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Salvador and Fortaleza will also host matches during the World Cup dress rehearsal.
"Today, it’s a point of no return," FIFA communications director Walter de Gregorio said at the announcement in Sao Paulo.
"There’s no way back. It’s a huge challenge. The timeframe is very tight. In a way we’re very happy we found a solution, but I have to make it very clear as well that we are still concerned because we are not able to have the stadiums as it was planned from the very beginning."
FIFA had insisted all six stadia be complete six months before the June 15 kickoff but abandoned that timeline Thursday in favor of an April 15 cutoff to begin testing.
Notably, only Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza will be ready by the original Dec. 15 deadline.
"There is no Plan B because we are convinced this is the date," said Gregorio.
For more on Thursday's announcement, including the launch of FIFA's ticketing scheme, follow World Football INSIDER.
Reedie Says IOC Wants U.S. Bid
IOC vice president Craig Reedie says he wants to see the U.S. return to the business of bidding for the Olympics.
Reedie was speaking at the International Sports Event Management Conference in London on Thursday, echoing comments made to Around the Rings during the London Olympics.
The last U.S. bid was Chicago 2016, which lost out to Rio de Janeiro in 2009, and the country has not campaigned for the Winter Games since hosting the event in Salt Lake City in 2000.
One reason for the apparent disinterest is the emergence of hosting major events in new markets around the world. Reedie, however, says that London could give confidence to cities across the Atlantic.
"The Winter Games in Vancouver and Summer Games in London were both run in healthy democracies with challenging media and have been a good thing for the movement," he said. "Beijing was fantastic, but the Games can always be run in totalitarian states who will do it for non-sporting reasons.
"I think the success of London could mean that cities all around the world with challenging media see that if London can do it, why can’t we, and that could be like the U.S., who may want to bid. Could they come back in to bidding? I hope so," Reedie continued.
"The Olympic Games was the single biggest television event in [U.S.] history, and it’s very clear that America could put together a very successful bid from one of their cities, and we in the IOC would welcome that."
Some cities are put off just by the sheer cost of the bidding phase itself, an issue Reedie said the IOC was well aware of.
"We will tell them to keep the costs down. The thing is the prize is so enormous that there is this fierce contest in bidding, but we are well aware of the cost issues," he said.
Rio Reveals "Plan B"
CEO Leonardo Gryner says Rio 2016 will follow the lead of London 2012 and have a "Plan B" to host a successful Olympic Games.
Gryner was speaking via video link to reporters and delegates Thursday at the ISEM Conference in London.
Next week, members of LOCOG will travel to Rio to officially debrief on the 2012 Games, but Gryner maintained that the most important lesson they would take away is to have a well thought-out back-up plan should things go awry.
"Planning ahead is vital," he said. "Not only having a ‘plan a’ but to have a thorough plan for ‘plan b’ which helps with the capacity to solve problems during the Games with no impact on operations.
"London so well prepared their ‘plan b’ they just gave a quick order to move into ‘plan b’ and everybody knew what it was and was able to move in this order."
Gryner outlined the plans for the different venues in the city center and said construction was well underway on the Olympic and Paralympic villages, which will include training facilities to accommodate the athletes.
But the Brazilian denied Rio is looking to outclass London and insisted the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games would be distinctly their own.
"Our point of view is to offer an excellent Games for the athletes combined with a Brazilian flavor and providing the best legacy for the city and the country. We are looking to showcase the best of Brazil in the Games in Rio."
London 2012's five-day transfer of knowledge runs Nov. 17 to 21 in Rio.
Voting Winds Down for Sports Cities Index
Voting ends Mondayfor the inaugural Sports Cities Index, presented by Around the Rings and TSE Consulting.
The comprehensive biannual ranking is built around a group of 50 cities selected through criteria such as staging recent and upcoming Olympics or other major multi-sport Games, hosting professional sports teams as well as organizing major championships or world-class events such as tennis Grand Slams and Formula 1 races.
Results of the first survey will be released Nov. 16 at the City Events Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. Around the Rings subscribers will have results delivered via email at 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 15.
Click here to vote.
Reported in London by Christian Radnedge and in Atlanta by Matthew Grayson
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