FIFA picks Rio Olympic venues

Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil (Supplied)
Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil (Supplied)

Zurich - FIFA withdrew its objection to Manaus and chose the Amazon jungle city on Monday to host matches at the 2016 Olympics.

FIFA said its Olympic tournament committee chose six cities across Brazil to host men's and women's matches: Olympic host Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Manaus, Salvador and Sao Paulo.

All six hosted World Cup matches last year.

The Arena da Amazonia in Manaus seemed at risk when FIFA said its distance from Rio,  3 000 kilometers, was too far. The 44,000-capacity venue costing $294 million was built for the World Cup despite the city lacking any top-level teams.

Rio will host matches in two stadiums: the Maracana, where the World Cup final was played, and the Engenhao, which will also host the Olympic track and field events.

The Engenhao is officially named after disgraced former FIFA president Joao Havelange.

The Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, which opened the World Cup, was chosen despite city officials saying the project could be too expensive. Officials said they will meet next week to discuss whether they city will be able to remain one of the hosts. Brazilian club Corinthians, which owns the stadium, has already said it will not spend any money to get the venue ready, meaning public funds will be needed.

FIFA said a detailed schedule for the 58 matches will be confirmed later.

The 16-team men's tournament and 12-team women's tournament will be played August 3-20.

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England 92/4 (28 ov)
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