(Reuters) – The problems that marred the reopening of the refurbished Mineirao World Cup stadium in Belo Horizonte were to be expected and had a positive effect, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday.
"Some people criticised the stadium facilities at the inaugural match but it’s absolutely normal to face challenges," Valcke told reporters on a visit to Belo Horizonte in the south-central state of Minas Gerais.
"Furthermore, such problems are good so we have time to correct them. What by many was seen as negative, was viewed by FIFA as positive," he said, according to the website of world soccer’s governing body (www.fifa.com).
"We express our concern when a stadium is not ready for test events. Belo Horizonte was perfect and we’re satisfied to have so many test events."
The Mineirao was the second World Cup stadium to be ready for the Confederations Cup, a World Cup dress rehearsal taking place in June. The first was the Castelao in the north-eastern city of Fortaleza.
The new-look stadium staged the Belo Horizonte derby between Cruzeiro and Atletico Mineiro on February 3 and suffered problems at access points, in the car parks and bars and even a water shortage.
Minas Gerais state government fined the firm responsible for the works at the stadium one million Brazilian Real.
The four other stadiums that will host matches at the June 15-30 Confederations Cup, in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Salvador, will be handed over to FIFA in May, 15 working days before the June tournament and five months behind schedule.
"During that time, our operational teams will take over and we can count on the support of the stadium operatives in some routine areas like upkeep and cleaning for example," Valcke said on a tour of the stadium with Sports minister Aldo Rebelo and former Brazil striker Ronaldo, a member of the local organising committee.
The Mineirao has held three matches in the state championship and will also stage Brazil’s friendly against Chile on April 24.
Rebelo praised Belo Horizonte for being up to date not only with their stadium but also with works on infrastructure for the 2014 tournament such as urban transportation.
Ronaldo said he was proud to return to the stadium where he began his playing career with Cruzeiro and also scored a hat-trick for Brazil against Argentina in 2004.
(Reporting by Tatiana Ramil; writing by Rex Gowar in London, editing by Ed Osmond)
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