FIFA announces 2014 World Cup venues

NASSAU - FIFA, world football's governing body, announced on Sunday in the Bahamas the 12 host cities for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. There were no real surprises as Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paulo were given the go-ahead to stage games in the tournament. Seventeen cities had submitted bids and Belem, Campo Grande, Goiania, Rio Branco and Florianopolis were the five to miss out. The selection covered all the main regions of Brazil and results in a tournament which will require plenty of long-distance travel for teams. The South American country is the fifth biggest in the world by geographical size. "The interest in Brazil was huge, and it was a very difficult decision to choose just 12 venues from the initial list of 17," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said. "We want to make this World Cup a sporting success and this is the most important thing." The 2014 finals will be the first in Brazil since 1950, when Uruguay beat the hosts in the final. South Africa will stage the finals in 2010. "There are no winning and losing cities here in Brazil. We are all taking part in the World Cup here in Brazil and we can all be proud," said Brazilian Football Federation president Ricardo Terra Teixeira. "For the 12 privileged cities chosen, it's the beginning of the work. They have a huge responsibility" Manaus won the battle to be the venue for the Amazonian region ahead of Rio Branco and Belem. FIFA had originally wanted just 10 venues for the finals but were persuaded by the Brazilians to allow two extra ones. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said there was an enormous amount of work to be done in the coming five years. "There is not a single city ready to host a World Cup game today or even in six months time," said Valcke. Brazil have won the World Cup a record five times.