SAO PAULO: The capacity for the barely-ready Itaquero stadium which will host next Friday’s Opening Match at the World Cup has been reduced again.
Political and financial wrangles have turned the saga of the opening stadium into a tragic-comedy after disgraced ex-Brazil football supreme Ricardo Teixeira opposed using the local Morumbi stadium.
A new stadium was then proposed for local club Corinthians who wanted only a maximum 45,000 capacity. This was well below the size demanded by FIFA for the Opening Match so temporary stands were incorporated into the design with 68,000 the target.
This was trimmed to 66,000 thousand during construction and now FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil has said that 61,600 seats is the final limit.
This is not the capacity for fans but the totality of people inside the venue which includes VIPs, political leaders and heads of state – such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Germany’s Angela Merkel – as well as media and other guests.
Weil added: “You have to remember that basic capacity and net availability are always different things. We found we had seats with a blocked view and others which could not be used so as not to block TV imagery.”
The latest World Cup ticketing report from FIFA has reported 3m of the 3.1m tickets as having been sold including 2.2m for ‘ordinary fans.’
Brazilians were bought up 60pc of the tickets with leading foreign purchasers including the United States (196,838), Argentina (61,021), Germany (58,778), Britain (57,917), and Colombia (54,477).