SAO PAULO: FIFA is being forced to accept that the Itaquero stadium which will host the Opening Match at the World Cup finals next year will miss the December 31 ‘delivery’ deadlne.
Two stadia in Manaus and Curitiba will barely make the deadline either after corner-cutting changes to the original design plans.
The Sao Paulo delay is considered inevitable by construction advisers after a crane collapsed, killing two workers and damaging some of the £300m structure.
A preliminary investigation into the accident, indicated that damage was confined to the concourse area and did not affect the stands – which could have taken longer to fix. The damaged concourse area took 35 days to build and it could take twice as long to clear the debris and rebuild.
FIFA hd said that all of the stadiums to be used for the finals must be finished by the end of December. A promise to that effect has been given many times by Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo. In any case, once the finals draw has taken place at the end of next week it will be too late to change the venues or fixtures schedule.
Jose Maria Marin, president of the Brazilian confederation and the local organising committee, said: “Accidents do happen. I am very sorry about these deaths but I have no oubt that the World Cup will start in Sao Paulo. There is no Plan B because if we had a Plan B it would suggest we did not believe in Plan A – which is not the case.”
The crane collapse was the latest incident to cast a shadow over preparations for the Cup, which have been plagued by cost overruns, delays, and a dramatic downsizing of the public transportation projects that were supposed to be the event’s main lasting legacy for Brazil’s 200 million people.
Public anger over the billions of dollars being spent on the stadiums boiled over in June, when massive anti-government street protests erupted during the Confederations Cup tournament which was a warm-up to next year’s event.
Brazilian newspapers said that one of victims of Wednesday’s accident, Fabio Luiz Pereira, had dreamed of attending the Cup’s opening match at the stadium he was helping to build.
The accident occurred as the crane was lifting a large, 420-tonne piece of the stadium’s roof into place.
It was to be the last of 39 pieces of roof, which is why senior engineers and representatives of the Corinthians team including Sanchez were present when the tragedy took place, the source said.
The initial investigation has identified four possible causes of the accident, the source said.
They include the crane breaking due to the roof’s weight; crane operator error; a procedural mistake in attaching the roof to the crane; and the crane losing its footing in the ground because of recent heavy rains, which the source said was ‘very feasible.’
One risk to the stadium’s revised timeline would be a lengthy legal investigation that freezes construction.
However, the Sao Paulo state prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday that it would only halt construction if ‘technical elements warrant.’