(Repeats to additional codes)
By Andrew Downie
SAO PAULO Jan 20 The venue that will stage the
opening World Cup game in Brazil in June is almost complete,
officials said on Monday, even though work has not restarted on
the collapsed roof that killed two workers in November.
"The stadium is 97 percent ready," said Andres Sanchez, the
former Corinthians president who is overseeing construction of
the Arena Corinthians.
"We have some things pending because of the accident but
we've got the all-clear and by the end of the month they will
remove the damaged piece. We will hand the stadium over by April
World soccer's ruling body FIFA said on Monday it was
delighted with the progress made although secretary general
Jerome Valcke pointed out the stadium was supposed to be ready
"We are very happy with what we've seen today," added
Valcke. "A lot of work has been done, a lot of work has still to
be done where the accident took place, but we are very confident
that all is on track."
The stadium on the outskirts of Sao Paulo is one of the most
expensive of the 12 World Cup venues and was one of the last to
Two workers died in November when a crane moving parts of
the roof into place toppled over and the delivery date was
subsequently put back four months.
The fallen structure, a massive 420-ton piece of metal
tubing, is still where it fell, leaning against one side of a
When asked how the venue could be deemed 97 percent ready
when a large part of the roof was still clearly damaged, the
stadium's chief engineer told Reuters the affected area was
"It's a very small part," said Federico Barbosa. "Everything
else is done or almost done."
The delays at the venue that will stage the opening match
between Brazil and Croatia on June 12 is one of the issues
affecting the country's preparations to host the first World Cup
in South America since 1978.
None of the six stadiums that were due to be finished in
December were ready on time. Six were completed last year and
used in the Confederations Cup test event.
Public transport projects in several cities have also been
abandoned or scaled back and there is concern new terminals at
some airports will not be ready.
Valcke said he would only talk about other venues after
visiting them on this his first visit to Brazil in 2014.
He travels to Cuiaba later on Monday and then to Curitiba on
Valcke flies to Natal on Wednesday when he will attend the
opening ceremony of the Arena das Dunas.
He said he would spend a week each month in Brazil until the
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)