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Rio Olympics propose Manaus as soccer venue; FIFA opposes


View of the square in front of the Amazon Theater in Manaus, Brazil on December 10, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Christophe Simon (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Manaus, the Amazon capital that gained attention while hosting 2014 World Cup matches, is among six cities planned to host Rio Olympic soccer matches, the organizing committee announced Thursday.

FIFA, which must approve the cities, said in a statement it is opposed to Manaus as a first choice for the Olympics, but will wait until March to make a final decision, according to Brazilian reports.

FIFA cited 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).

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.

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

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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