Brazilian stadium holds first test ahead of World Cup opener

Sun May 18, 2014 8:04pm EDT

* Sao Paulo's Arena Corinthians remains incomplete

* Figueirense defeats Corinthians 1-0 in championship

By Tatiana Ramil

Sao Paulo, May 18 (Reuters) - Organizers of the 2014 Soccer World Cup conducted the first and only official test of facilities at Sao Paulo's still-incomplete Arena Corinthians stadium on Sunday, 25 days before it will host the opening match between Brazil and Croatia.

Brazil's World Cup preparations have been plagued by delays and unfulfilled promises. The stadiums built or renovated for the World Cup are over budget and several remain incomplete. The Cup begins June 12.

Many new public transport projects promised for the World Cup have not been started and many are unfinished. Anger over the cost and broken promises has contributed to waves of street protests in the last year and cut the popularity of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ahead of elections in October.

About 36,694 fans attended the Brazilian soccer championship match on Sunday at Arena Corinthians, about half the capacity that will be available for the six World Cup matches, including one semi-final game, to be played at the 1.07 billion real ($482 million) stadium.

The stadium, more than a year behind schedule, still requires landscaping and access work outside the facility.

At Sunday's game organizers were unable to provide some services, such as metal detectors, promised for the World Cup, according to the World Cup Local Organizing Committee.

Fans did not receive "100 percent of the services that will be offered during the World Cup nor did they receive the scale and quality of services that will be offered at World Cup competition," it said in a note.

In the game, Figueirense Futebol Clube from Florianopolis defeated the home team Sport Club Corinthians Paulista 1-0 on a goal by Giovanni Augusto in the second minute of the second half.

The final stretch of construction of the stadium was delayed after two workers died in November as the result of the collapse of the roof.

Part of the roof won't be complete until after the World Cup, as the stadium builders were unable to order the special glass needed from France in time, announcers for NET, a Brazilian cable TV company, said during the game's transmission.

As a result, rain and hail that began late in the first half soaked many fans in the seats closest to the pitch.

Some of the 20,000 temporary seats that are being added to the stadium for the World Cup have yet to be installed. After the temporary seating is removed, Arena Corinthians will seat 48,234.

Brazil's Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo has said that there will be telecom and internet problems at half of Brazil's 12 World Cup stadiums, including Arena Corinthians.

($1 = 2.22 Brazilian reais) (Writing and additional reporting by Jeb Blount in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Paul Simao)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.