By Dialogo April 15, 2010 The Brazilian press was swamped this week by a fierce controversy over the possibility that popular Morumbi Stadium will be ruled out by FIFA as a game site for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, although the soccer federation officially denied having made such a decision, according to local media. “Morumbi will not be the site of the competition’s opening match or of any other. It’s out of the Cup,” São Paulo daily O Estado reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed high-ranking FIFA official. Facing the uproar caused by this news, FIFA responded by denying that using Morumbi in the Cup had been ruled out, again according to Brazilian media. “FIFA provided representatives of Morumbi/São Paulo with information about what needed to be improved for (the stadium) to be a candidate to host a semifinal match, and right now we are waiting to see those improvements,” the organization explained in a note to São Paulo daily Folha. Structural problems and an insufficient renovation estimated at 160 million dollars have increased FIFA inspectors’ criticisms of Cícero Pompeu de Toledo Stadium, also known as Morumbi. According to O Estado, the controversial decision was to be announced Thursday during FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke’s visit to São Paulo. The Federation was already considering an alternative stadium in São Paulo, according to the daily. For its part, the São Paulo World Cup committee remains confident that the new renovations to be presented to Valcke Thursday will meet the indicated needs. The two major changes in the new plan are the extension “of the lower ring of seats, which will increase visibility in the stadium, and lowering the playing field itself, which will eliminate any kind of visual obstruction,” committee member Luis Salles explained to CBN radio. The twelve Brazilian stadiums that will host World Cup matches are under a deadline to start construction or renovation work by 3 May, and any delay brings with it the risk of losing the right to be a tournament site.