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Manaus approved as Rio 2016 Olympic soccer venue by FIFA


MANAUS, BRAZIL - JUNE 14: A general view during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between England and Italy at Arena Amazonia on June 14, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA via Getty Images

Manaus, the Amazon capital that gained attention while hosting 2014 World Cup matches, was approved by FIFA on Monday to host Rio Olympic soccer matches.

In February, FIFA opposed Manaus as one of six 2016 Olympic soccer venue cities, citing the long distance separating Manaus and Rio de Janeiro, some 1,800 miles, as not preferred for a two-week soccer tournament (the World Cup lasts one month).

The other Olympic soccer venue cities are Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo and Salvador.

Rio will have two Olympic soccer stadiums. The Olympic Stadium will hold soccer in the first week of the Games and track and field in the second week. The Maracanã will host the men’s and women’s finals.

Last week, a Sao Paulo newspaper quoted a sports secretary saying that city was “not guaranteed” to host Olympic soccer matches, according to The Associated Press, which reported that high costs were a concern.

Olympic soccer matches are often played far from the Olympic host city.

In 2012, some matches were played in Glasgow, Scotland, more than 300 miles north of London. In 2008, matches were played in Shanghai, around 750 miles south of Beijing. In 2000, Adelaide hosted matches about 850 miles west of Sydney. In 1984, Boston hosted matches about 2,500 miles east of Los Angeles.

Soccer will be a popular ticket at the Games, as the Brazilian men and women aim to win their first gold medals.

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