Maracana pitch relaid amid World Cup concerns

Rio de Janeiro, Oct 24 (IANS) New sections of turf have been laid at Rio's Maracana stadium amid concerns over the state of the pitch less than eight months before the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The venue's operator, Maracana S/A, released a statement Wednesday that the penalty areas at both ends were replaced, reports Xinhua.

"This wasn't a decision we have just made now," Maracana S/A operations chief Sinval Andrade said. "In three months we've had the equivalent (matches) of an entire European season."

The Maracana has staged 33 matches since its official reopening before the Confederations Cup in June.

Botafogo and Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson criticised the state of the pitch Sunday, saying it was unfit for playing.

The Maracana will host seven World Cup fixtures, including the final July 13.

It is not the only World Cup venue to be condemned by players.

Last month Chelsea and Selecao defender David Luiz described Brasilia's Mane Garrincha stadium - which will also host seven World Cup matches - as having "a bad pitch".

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