IFA to pick Brazil cities for 2014 World Cup
FIFA's ruling committee will decide this weekend on which 12 cities in Brazil will host matches at the 2014 World Cup, football's governing body said on Monday.
The 24-man Executive Committee must choose from 17 candidate cities at a May 30-31 meeting in Nassau, Bahamas, that sets the stage for FIFA's annual Congress next week.
The panel will also hear progress reports from organizers of the eight-nation Confederations Cup _ a test event for the 2010 World Cup _ being played in South Africa next month, and attempts by suspended federations Ethiopia and Kuwait to regain full status within the global body.
Top of the agenda is the choice of host cities in Brazil, which will be announced Sunday.
A FIFA inspection team visited all 17 cities in January and February.
Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are almost assured of being picked.
The other candidates are: Belem, Campo Grande, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Florianopolis, Fortaleza, Goiania, Manaus, Natal, Recife-Olinda, Rio Branco and Salvador.
Executive members agreed last December to have 12 venues instead of 10 after the Brazilian football federation asked for a wider spread of matches across the country.
Belem is the most northerly candidate city, Rio Branco located the farthest west and Porto Alegre the southernmost. Manaus in the north is the remote capital city of the Amazon region. All potential stadiums would hold at least 40,000 spectators.
The 2014 World Cup final is scheduled to be played in the 90,000-capacity Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which also hosted the final in 1950.
The committee, chaired by President Sepp Blatter, will also work on the agenda for the June 2-3 Congress of the 208 football nations. FIFA wants to tighten rules that already forbid politicians interfering in the work of independent national associations. Ethiopia was kicked out of the African qualification tournament for the 2010 World Cup because two factions are battling for control of the national body, while Kuwait's football is currently being run by an interim panel after FIFA issued a ban in response to government interference.
The annual congress is also slated to discuss Blatter's favored "six-plus-five" rule _ which aims to force club teams to start matches with six players eligible for the country's national team _ and moving to ban transfers of players aged under 18. It will also decide on eligibility rules for players to compete in the Olympics tournament.
Executive members will also examine the delayed preparations by Nigerian authorities for staging the Under-17 World Cup. It is expected to grant one more month to see progress in Nigeria where only two of nine candidate cities are ready for the Oct. 24-Nov. 15 event.