RIO DE JANEIRO: With Presidents Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Sepp Blatter of FIFA due to meet next week, work on the much-delayed Arena Amazonas in Manaus has been held up yet again by a workers dispute writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Protesters yesterday blocked the entrance to the site of the stadium which is one of half a dozen still awaiting ‘delivery’ ahead of the World Cup finals in Brazil in June and July.

A spokesperson for the World Cup project management said the protest was not related directly to the work on the stadium but concerned a dispute by employees from other construction sites of the Andrade Gutierrez company.

A statement said: “The World Cup Project Management Unit of the government of the state of Amazonas says that the strike protests at the gates of the Arena da Amazonia has no relation to the work of stadium construction.

“The employees of the construction company Andrade Gutierrez who forced the stoppage of work are employed on another project of the company in Manaus (TPP Maua) and not at the Arena Amazonas.”

Work was held up in December after a construction worker on the Amazonas site fell 35ft to his death from the stadium roof.

The stadium is now “95.47pc built” and would be inspected by FIFA secretary-secretary Jérôme Valcke and Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo – among others – on February 21.

Brazil’s President Rousseff will meet Blatter in Zurich next Thursday to discuss the state of preparations and a strategy to cope with the street protests expected to re-erupt during the finals.

The previous day Rousseff is due to attend the official opening of the Arena das Dunas World Cup stadium in Natal.