NATAL: President Dilma Rousseff has inaugurated the Dunas Arena in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, which will host four group stage matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

Inspired by the coastal city of Natal’s sand dune landscape, the Dunas Arena is designed to be a multi-purpose venue. The main stadium will host sports events, trade shows and concerts, and the stadium’s 22,000 square meter outdoor plaza will also host events.

“I was delighted by the beauty of this stadium, especially given the fact that it was delivered 3 percent below budget, and that it will earn the seal of Ecology. It is an environmentally-sustainable stadium that employed 4,000 workers, including convicts, and I want to tell you, beyond the legacy we have with the World Cup in terms of mobility…we will also leave a stadium like this one, which is very important to have for America and ABC and all the other teams. Also, I recognize it is a venue for conventions, exhibitions, large meetings. This stadium is as beautiful as Natal,” said President Dilma Rousseff.

The first matches at the stadium will take place on Sunday, 26 January when the state of Rio Grande do Norte’s main soccer teams face each other in a double round: América-RN vs. Confiança-SE for the Northeast Cup, and ABC vs. Alecrim for the Rio Grande do Norte State Championship. The local soccer clubs ABC and América have signed an agreement with the Dunas Arenas management consortium to use the venue for their home games for the next 20 years.

“The arena is in the city center, and after the World Cup, we can set up a commercial area between the access ways. In addition, we have an area where events and concerts may be held. Since the beginning, the arena was designed as a multi-purpose venue that can be used year-round. Our goal is to make it profitable. The two main football clubs in the state, América and ABC, have signed a contract with us, and we have already arranged a certain number of matches,” said Charles Maia, the Dunas Arena Director.

The new arena is the result of 29 months of construction. The project began by demolishing the old stadium, João Claudio de Vasconcelos Machado – the ‘Machadão,’ which officially opened in 1972 and took up part of the area where the new venue is located. Approximately 4,500 workers built the new stadium, which has a seating capacity of 42,000 (with 10,600 removable seats). Investments in the project totalled R$ 400 million, including R$ 396.5 million from federal financing.

Petal-shaped modules give the arena its signature sand dune look

The arena’s design is unique. Its façade and roof are integrated and made up of 20 petal-shaped modules, designed to be higher on one of the stadium’s sides, giving the impression that the sand dunes – which are common in the region – are moving.The design also allows for more ventilation and light to come into the stadium.

The petal-shaped structures of the roof are made of steel trusses, covered on the outside with aluminum tiles, with thermal and acoustic insulation. Internally, they are coated with a PVC prestressed membrane. The parts are joined by translucent polycarbonate, which allows light to come through.

The Dunas Arena’s roof was also designed to capture rainwater. Gutters collect the water and take it to nine tanks below the lower stands. As a result, up to 3,000 cubic meters may be captured and reused in the lavatories and for irrigating the pitch.

An improved stadium experience

Fans going to matches and events at the stadium will notice a new standard of comfort and safety. In total, there are 21 access ramps to reach each of the four stadium levels, in addition to elevators that connect the indoor car-park directly with the 39 boxes. The Dunas Arena also has four lounges that can accommodate up to 1,000 people, 25 food and drink kiosks, as well as 30 restrooms.

There are four types of seats, identifiable by varying shades of blue: general public, hospitality, VIP and Executive VIP. In addition, 521 seats are reserved for people with disabilities.

“The arena is accessible at all levels, with ramps and elevators, from the box office to the changing rooms. In the boxes and throughout the stadium there are accessible lavatories. There is a directional tactile floor from the external gate to the stands,” said Charles Maia.

A security team in the arena’s command and control center is able to monitor images recorded by 200 cameras with facial-recognition capability in the ground’s external and internal areas. The PA system is integrated with the stadium’s two 64 square meter screens, allowing for information and match statistics to be clearly displayed to the crowd.

Players will also notice improved match conditions. The Bermuda Tifton 419 grass species used for the pitch is ideal for the region’s hot climate, and the drainage system allows for matches to be played even on extremely rainy days.

With the first row of stands only 15 meters away from the pitch, fans will be close to the action. In addition, the arena’s lighting system, which uses 306 floodlights, provides uniform and consistent visibility, eliminating shadows and facilitating TV broadcasts using Full HD technology.

Find out more about the Dunas Arena here.

2014 FIFA World Cup schedule

The Dunas Arena will be the stage of four group stage matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil:

·       June 13:  Group A – Mexico vs. Cameroon

·       June 16:  Group G – Ghana vs. United States

·       June 19:  Group C – Japan vs. Greece

·       June 24:  Group D – Italy (Four-time World Cup winners) vs. Uruguay (Two-time World Cup winners)

Source: World Cup Portal –



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