Source AP ©

FIFA finds Chilean stadiums inappropriate for World Cup qualifiers

FIFA officials rejected the two stadiums proposed by Chile for staging 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

"If the qualifying series were to begin this week, neither stadium would be approved for a match," FIFA inspection team member Alvaro Gonzalez of Colombia said.

Gonzalez and Jorge Ortega of Costa Rica visited National Stadium and Monumental Stadium, the two venues the Chilean federation wants to use for qualifying.

South American qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is scheduled to begin Sept. 8.

Gonzalez said the main objection to National Stadium is the poor condition of the field, which has not been replaced in 16 years and recently has been used for rock concerts.

Conditions are somewhat better at the Monumental, which belongs to the club Colo Colo, and officials said improvements there are easier to achieve.

National Stadium is the main sports arena in Chile. The 1962 World Cup final won by Brazil was played at National, which also was used to imprison thousands of dissidents after the 1973 military coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

The Soviet Union refused to play at the stadium for a 1974 World Cup qualifier, claiming the stadium had been used for the execution of the supporters of ousted Marxist President Salvador Allende.

Chilean soccer federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls and national team manager Nelson Acosta both acknowledged the problems.

"We need a stadium that allows good performance on the pitch. Our National Stadium doesn't," said Mayne-Nicholls.