Brazil football chief admits World Cup safety concerns

Rio De Janeiro, Feb 1 (IANS) Brazil's football confederation - CBF - has admitted the country must act to address safety concerns ahead of next year's FIFA World Cup.

CBF's concerns were made public a day after a stadium crash in Porto Alegre Wednesday that left five football fans in hospital and last Sunday's nightclub fire that killed 231 people in the southern city of Santa Maria, reports Xinhua.

CBF president Jose Maria Marin said Thursday the incident at Arena Gremio in Porto Alegre would have no impact on the friendly between Brazil and France slated for June 9 at the same venue.

But he admitted Brazil must take measures to improve health and safety standards.

"There is no chance the game against France will be shifted," Marin said during a press conference.

"It is a warning for the Confederations Cup (in June) and World Cup that we have to take action, principally in relation to safety. Apart from posing a health risk to everybody in the stadium, these incidents can stop people from coming to watch football and we don't want that."

The recently refurbished Gremio Arena will not host Confederations Cup or World Cup matches.

Porto Alegre police chief Kleber Rodrigues Goulart said Wednesday's incident occurred when a security fence collapsed during local side Gremio's Copa Libertadores' qualifier against Ecuador's Liga de Quito.

Seven people were injured, of which five were taken to hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

Golourt said the stadium could be closed due to the safety risk posed by its standing-room only areas.

"We cannot wait for a tragedy to corroborate our opinion," he said.

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