KEIR RADNEDGE in MANAUS: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has turned up in Manaus even though the official opening of the new Arena Amazonia has been postponed for a fortnight.
Whether this was a demonstration of security precautions or mere organised chaos was not clear. Rousseff did visit the stadium but the formality following her overnight appearance at this writer’s hotel was to launch a local housing project.
Whether deliberately or accidentally this meant she would just miss the arrival of FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke who will check out the venue – along with Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo – on Sunday.
Two years ago the Manaus stadium was world federation FIFA’s major concern in terms of construction delays. Now Curitiba, Cuiaba and Sao Paulo have all fallen further behind.
The Amazonas was to have been opened on December 20 then postponed until tomorrow. A further delay was announced by state Governor Omar Aziz this week to February 25 after the death of a third construction worker a fortnight ago.
The death has provoked further strike threats from construction unions.
Officials insist the stadium is 97pc ready with only tidying up of the approaches needed. The lighting certainly works, as a test last night demonstrated.