World Cup: Budget shortfall means Porto Alegre may lose ability to host games
If everything goes according to plan, the US national team will make the round of 16 at the World Cup this summer in Brazil.
One of the possible venues scheduled to host, Porto Alegre, may not be able to, however.
According to Sport Club Internacional chairman Giovanni Luigi, the stadium scheduled to host that round-of-16 match in addition to four group-stage games, Beira-Rio (pictured), may not have the money to get the venue fully prepared for the tournament, putting their ability to host in doubt.
Luigi said contracts with FIFA have meant the club, as owner of the stadium, are responsible for taking on costs of $123 million in association with serving as a host site.
"The negotiation is complex and the problem was not solved," Luigi acknowledged in an interview with local broadcaster Radio Gaucha. "There is a risk that we will lose the World Cup and it's not small."
Agence France Presse has reported that according to FIFA rules, stadium owners hosting matches must bear the costs of temporary structures like the press box and meeting room for volunteers. As a result of the financial burden, Luigi said he was reaching out to local and state authorities to help make up the budgetary shortfall. There's no guarantee public money will be given to finish preparations, however.
In the group stage, Honduras are among the countries scheduled to play at the Beira-Rio, when they face France June 16 in Group E action. Nigeria are also among the countries to play in the southern Brazilian city, and if the US win Group G, they would face the second-place team in Group H in the first knockout round.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke will be in Brazil this weekend inspecting the situation at Porto Alegre and another World Cup venue that's behind schedule, Curitiba, and will assess whether one or both sites will be stripped of their hosting duties.