Brazil races to meet World Cup deadline

Organisers scramble to build six stadiums in time for June 12 opening match in Sao Paulo, where two builders died.

The Arena Das Dunas venue for the FIFA 2014 World Cup Brazil in Natal, Brazil [Getty Images]

Brazil is struggling to be ready in time for this year’s World Cup, with stadium venues repeatedly missing deadlines and promised infrastructure projects scaled back or shelved.

Six of the 12 World Cup stadiums are still under construction, although the global football governing body FIFA had set the end of 2013 as the final deadline. The other six venues were completed in 2013.

Organisers in Brazil said on Sunday that the delays had been caused by financial problems, health and safety issues for workers and construction site accidents.

Local World Cup organisers in the northeastern city of Natal lit up the Arena das Dunas stadium for the first time on New Year’s Eve to symbolise the venue’s completion.

The official inauguration, however, will only happen “probably” on 20th January, organisers said in a written statement.

FIFA usually wants all venues ready at least six months before the tournament starts so local organisers can host enough test events

Brazilian organisers announced during the World Cup draw in December that none of the remaining six venues were expected to be delivered by the FIFA deadline.

Stadium ‘almost ready’

Delays have included financial problems, workers safety issues and construction-site accidents.

Three construction workers died at stadiums last year. One fell from about 35 metres at the Arena Amazonia in the jungle city of Manaus, and two were killed when a crane collapsed while hoisting a roofing structure at the stadium that will host the World Cup opener in Sao Paulo on June 12.

Jose Gomes, Copa Football spokesman, said the arena would be ready by March.

“The stadium is almost ready,” Gomes said.

“Construction works didn’t stop in a large part of the Arena. So if we consider the area of this accident, the construction will effectively finish by the end of March.

“Right now it’s 95 percent ready.”

The Arena Amazonia is expected to be completed by the end of the month, but the stadium in Sao Paulo won’t be ready until April.

The Arena da Baixada in the southern city of Curitiba, where organisers faced difficulties securing the needed financing for the stadium, is likely to be ready sometime in March or early April.

The Beira-Rio Stadium in the southern city of Porto Alegre is set to be completed in January and the Arena Pantanal in the wetlands city of Cuiaba is expected to be delivered in February.

Source: News Agencies