Work to start on Sao Paulo World Cup stadium

SAO PAULO, May 28 (Reuters) - Work on Sao Paulo's planned stadium for the 2014 World Cup will finally start on Monday as South America's largest city battles to avoid missing out on the tournament.

However, the announcement by Corinthians, the club building the stadium, and construction company Odebrecht, came too late to prevent the city missing out on the 2013 Confederations Cup, regarded as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.

"Corinthians and Odebrecht announce that the excavation work for the building of the stadium in Itaquera, in the eastern region of Sao Paulo, will begin next Monday, May 30," said the first half of a two-sentence statement.

The other half of the statement was to warn potential job-seekers that there would be no immediate vacancies.

This came after hundreds of building workers swamped the site last Monday, believing that work was about to start, in the hope of securing a job.

"The forecast is that this stage of the work will last around three months," Corinthians said. "During this period, nobody will hired directly on the building site.

"As soon as places become available, Corinthians and Odebrecht will disclose the selection process."

Corinthians, one of Brazil's most popular clubs, has previously estimated that the stadium will take around two-and-a-half years to build and should be finished by November or December in 2013.

The World Cup is due to be start in Brazil the following June.

Sao Paulo's preparations for the World Cup have been plagued by delays and problems.

Last year, FIFA and Brazilian organisers rejected the Morumbi stadium, the city's originally proposed venue, after local authorities failed to get financial guarantees to cover the costs of the rebuilding work.

Work on the Itaquera ground has been delayed because of planning problems and because Corinthians had originally planned a 48,000 seater stadium, which would be too small for the opening match, leading to disagreements over who would pay for the extra capacity.

On Friday, FIFA said that Sao Paulo and Natal had both been ruled ineligible to host the Confederations Cup because their stadiums would not be ready in time.

Sao Paulo still hopes to host the showpiece opening match in 2014, but missing out on 2013 is likely to seriously damage its chances.

(Reporting by Tatiana Ramil; Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by John O'Brien; To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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