Porto Alegre mayor issues World Cup funding warning

SAO PAULO Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:40pm GMT

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (C) signs a soccer ball as she poses for a picture with FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke (3rd L), former Brazilian soccer player and member of the 2014 World Cup local organizing committee Ronaldo (3rd R), Porto Alegre's Mayor Jose Fortunati (center R) and Brazil's Internacional soccer club players during the opening ceremony of the Beira-Rio stadium, which will be one of the stadiums hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer matches, in Porto Alegre February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Edison Vara

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (C) signs a soccer ball as she poses for a picture with FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke (3rd L), former Brazilian soccer player and member of the 2014 World Cup local organizing committee Ronaldo (3rd R), Porto Alegre's Mayor Jose Fortunati (center R) and Brazil's Internacional soccer club players during the opening ceremony of the Beira-Rio stadium, which will be one of the stadiums hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer matches, in Porto Alegre February 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Edison Vara

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The mayor of Porto Alegre has warned the city may drop out of the World Cup unless it makes a crucial decision this week on financing for temporary structures at the Beira Rio stadium.

Jose Fortunati encouraged the city council to pass a law giving tax breaks to companies that would finance the structures needed during the tournament.

Some council members have expressed opposition to the measure but Fortunati warned if they do not vote on Tuesday as planned, the city will run out of options.

Internacional's Beira Rio stadium was modernised for the finals and is due to host five matches, including fixtures featuring France, Holland and Argentina.

"If the (project) isn't voted then there won't be a World Cup in Porto Alegre," Fortunati told the local Radio Gaucha.

"We don't have a way to get that funding. There's no Plan B, no Plan C, no Plan D. This is the only option."

The World Cup starts in 84 days and some cities have not yet decided how to finance temporary structures such as sponsors' tents, areas for security personnel and media centres.

Local authorities said they will not use taxpayers' money.

The issue underlines Brazil's troubled preparations for the month-long tournament.

Three of the 12 stadiums are still not ready and many public transportation projects have been scaled back or abandoned.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; editing by Martyn Herman) nL4N0ML3ZE

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