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Troubled Curitiba stadium to stage test in March

Journalists visit inside the Arena da Baixada soccer stadium as it is being built to host matches of the 2014 World Cup in Curitiba, Februar
Journalists visit inside the Arena da Baixada soccer stadium as it is being built to host matches of the 2014 World Cup in Curitiba, Februar

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Owners of the Curitiba stadium, due to be used in this year's World Cup, said a "test game" would be played on March 29 even though building work will not have been completed.

"Atletico Paranaense announces that the test game to be played for the 2014 World Cup meeting all FIFA's recommendations will take place on March 29, 2014," the club said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

"The stadium will host a game between the under-23 team and an as yet unidentified opponent." The club will give details of who can watch the game at a later date.

The Arena da Baixada stadium, one of the four World Cup grounds still not ready for the competition, was recently confirmed as one of the 12 host venues. FIFA had threatened to exclude it because it was so behind schedule.

The ground is now scheduled to be completed on May 15, a month and a day before it is due to host its first group match between Iran and Nigeria.

FIFA confirmed the ground's continued involvement last week but only after the club sought more financial guarantees and agreed to hire more workers to get the building work done.

The cost has risen to 330 million reals ($142 million) from its original 131 million. The stadium is due to host four matches, including world champions Spain against Australia.

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro; Writing by Andrew Downie; editing by Robert Woodward) nL3N0LW4TT

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