As the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa draws to a close, supporters and organisers will soon be looking to the next tournament in four years time, in Brazil.

Brazil is set to spend $500 million renovating Rio’s legendary Maracana Stadium for the 2014 tournament.

Secretary of Sports and Tourism, Marcia Lins, said: “The start of renovation work at the stadium was planned for March 2010 but it will only close completely in September.”

The stadium was the largest in the world when it was inaugurated in 1950 for the FIFA World Cup and the renovations are expected to be completed by December 2012.

The Maracana is classified as an historic monument so the facade will be maintained but the officials say a roof will be added to the five-storey oval stadium. The stadium’s capacity will however drop to 83,000 from its current 88,000 while other stadia designated for matches would be put in order.

“Before, stadiums were practically just large pitches but today they are multi-disciplined arenas,” said Lins.

She added that the project also included the regeneration of the entire northern area of the city.

The Official Emblem for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil was unveiled at the Convention Centre in Sandton, where Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Brazil 2014 Organising Committee and FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter were in attendance, amongst a host of high profile guests.

The next major milestone on the road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the preliminary draw to be conducted in Brazil in July 2011.

Posted on 11/07/2010