Source AP ©

President Michelle Bachelet promises to repair National Stadium on time for World Cup qualifiers

President Michelle Bachelet promised Chile's deteriorated National Stadium will be fully repaired on time for the start of World Cup qualifying in October.

Visiting the stadium with a group of sports officials, Bachelet said the renovations also will strengthen Chile's bid to stage the 2011 Copa America.

The president toured the areas where repairs are under way, including the field, dressing rooms and the spectator areas, where individual seats are being installed.

Among those accompanying Bachelet in the visit was Chilean soccer federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who has warned he will move Chile's qualifiers to Colo Colo's Monumental Stadium unless National Stadium is properly repaired, or if it is again used for massive rock concerts.

The stadium, however, already has been reserved for an October event by the Argentine rock band Soda Stereo, one of the most popular Latin America.

Santiago's National Stadium is one of Latin America's most traditional soccer arenas. It hosted several matches during the 1962 World Cup, including the final in which Brazil beat Czechoslovakia 3-1 for its second title.

It also served as a prison camp for several months after the 1973 military coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.