Brazil officials say stadium up to scratch for Olympics

Rio de Janeiro, Apr 8 (EFE).- The Rio de Janeiro state government on Monday denied that this city's legendary Maracana soccer stadium, now undergoing a $500 million renovation for the 2014 World Cup, needs additional publicly funded work to make it ready for the 2016 Olympics here in Brazil's second city.

"The government of the state of Rio de Janeiro declares that the Maracana stadium will not be closed for new work after the conclusion of that which is currently being performed," authorities said in a communique released on Monday.

According to the statement, the work currently under way will ready the stadium for the World Cup as well as for the Olympics.

The state government dealt head-on with media accounts that had said the costly work to conform to the requirements of FIFA, soccer's world governing body, is not enough to satisfy the demands of the International Olympic Committee.

The $500 million modernization of Maracana does not comply with IOC rules in 39 areas, among which are the dimensions of the tunnels to the locker rooms and the load-bearing capacity of the roof.

The government said that it is in constant contact with the 2016 Rio Organizing Committee and that the current work on Maracana satisfies "international requirements and standards."

Maracana was built for the 1950 World Cup and underwent an extensive renovation for the 2007 Panamerican Games, when seating was greatly expanded.

With a view to the next World Cup, an even more complete renovation was undertaken, so that of the original structure, only the facade has been preserved.

The former re-opening of Maracana is set for June 2, when the stadium will host an international friendly between Brazil and England.