Valcke: No compromises for safety in Brazil venues

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Valcke: No compromises for safety in Brazil venues
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FILE - This is a Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 file photo of clouds are seen over the Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. Four matches of the 2014 soccer World Cup will be played in the stadium. Natal on Brazil's northeastern bulge made the city strategically important in World War II, because it was the closest jumping-off point in Latin America to Africa, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) to the east across the Atlantic. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop, File)

SAO PAULO (AP) -- FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke insisted Friday that no compromises have been made on workers' safety as organizers try to overcome construction delays at World Cup stadiums in Brazil.

After the deaths of three workers in less than a month, Valcke said that safety remains paramount for World Cup organizers.

''With all deadlines in mind, there will and have not been any compromises in terms of safety and security - a matter which is always top priority for workers, players and fans equally,'' Valcke said in his monthly column published on FIFA's website.

A worker fell 115 feet to his death while working on a roofing structure in the jungle city of Manaus last Saturday, and in late November two workers were killed when a crane collapsed in the stadium that will host the World Cup opener in Sao Paulo on June 12.

None of the six stadiums that had to be delivered by the end of the year, as requested by FIFA, will be ready on time. Even more delays are expected because of the recent accidents in construction sites. Six other stadiums were ready for the Confederations Cup this year.

There is still no timetable for the Arena Amazonia in Manaus, and the venue in Sao Paulo is not expected to be ready for test events until April, two months before it has to host the opener between Brazil and Croatia.

''All the other five will have hosted the first of at least three test events within the first three months of 2014,'' Valcke said.

Valcke praised how Brazil organized the World Cup draw this month, but said that with the event already in the past, it's time to start putting the finishing touches to the tournament preparations.

''The Final Draw has spurred us on and given us the impetus and motivation to concentrate on completing the important tasks still remaining in the final preparation phase. The clock is ticking ever faster and the level of anticipation is rising for all of us,'' Valcke said.

''None of us organizers - FIFA, the LOC, the federal government and the host cities - have the slightest cause to sit back and rest on any laurels. The finishing touches are crucial, and they need to be added in a number of areas,'' the secretary general added.

After the stadiums are finally delivered, Valcke said ''the temporary structures in all 12 stadiums need to be brought up to FIFA World Cup standards and sizes, to name but two of the many tasks still on the agenda.''

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