A little more than a week until Brazil hosts Croatia in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup, the unfinished Sao Paulo stadium in which they will play held its final test before being pushed to maximum capacity for the main event. A temporary stand that will push the Itaquerao Stadium's capacity over 65,000 for the World Cup opener was closed off for Sunday's Brazilian Serie A match between Corinthians and Botafogo since the fire department still had to to perform weight stress tests on it (that will happen Wednesday).
As a result, only 40,000 tickets were made available for the match, which went off without a hitch and ended in a 1-1 draw. It is one of three World Cup stadiums that has yet to be finished along with Natal and Porto Alegre.
From the LA Times:
“The stadium is marvelous, but it's not even finished! And that's completely unacceptable,” said Fernando Martin, a 33-year-old construction worker and lifelong fan of Corinthians, which tied Rio de Janeiro opponent Botafogo, 1-1, Sunday. “It should have been done months ago.”
The Sao Paulo stadium's construction has been marred by tragedy as three people have died in two separate incidents. First, a crane collapse killed two workers and damaged the final section of the stadium last November. Then in March another worker fell to his death while installing floors in the temporary stand.
Completion of the glass roof that was planned to provide cover for fans was postponed until after the World Cup due to the delays in construction. Once the tournament is over, the temporary stand will be removed and permanent capacity for the stadium will be 40,000.
Ronaldo, the World Cup's all-time leading scorer and member of the local organizing committee, said last week he was ashamed by how few construction projects related to the tournament will actually be completed in time. From FourFourTwo:
"I'm ashamed for the Brazilian people who were expecting big investments and a great legacy for them, for us," he said.
"We promised to rebuild airports and improve transport and infrastructure. I am sorry for all the things we promised and have not completed.
"We have some numbers - only 30 percent of all the things that were promised will be done in time for the World Cup to get underway. That number is my only concern, for that I'm ashamed.
"The Brazilian people are the ones affected by our failure."
The Brazilian people were upset enough with the tens of billions of dollars invested in World Cup and 2016 Olympics related projects instead of vital public services, but to then see those frivolous projects left incomplete for a sporting event many didn't want to host in the first place will only make the protests larger and louder.
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